Canada and global warming: a state of denial 2

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Bangladesh's 161 million inhabitants are facing "a one in 20-year flood event that we are having now for the fifth time in the last two decades" as the climate crisis devastates the country with a third of the country under water. 

The floods started late last month, and after briefly easing continued to worsen, destroying crops and driving people from their homes in several impoverished regions [Sultan Mahmud/AFP]

The floods started late last month, and after briefly easing continued to worsen, destroying crops and driving people from their homes in several impoverished regions

Around a third of Bangladesh is underwater due to recent catastrophic flooding and the climate crisis has played a role in the devastation, according to experts.

The widespread flooding, which has displaced millions of vulnerable people and caused more than 100 deaths, follows the deadly super-cyclone Amphan which hit the region in May.

The catastrophes bear witness to the fundamental imbalance of the climate emergency: That developing countries like Bangladesh, which have historically contributed little to the pollution driving increased temperatures and rising sea levels, will suffer the greatest impacts....

Dr Saleemul Huq, director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) in Bangladesh, told The Independent that the "fingerprint" of climate change could be seen in the magnitude of the recent disasters.

"I think that this is definitely linked to climate change," Dr Huq said. "This is a one in 20-year flood event that we are having now for the fifth time in the last 20 years.

"The events didn't happen because of climate change but they are definitely more intense because we've interfered with the climate system."

In May, super-cyclone Amphan tore through coastal areas of Bangladesh, a low-lying, heavily-populated country of 162 million people, along with neighbouring regions of India. The cyclone killed more than 100 people and impacted at least 1 million, according to the United Nations, wiping out villages and essential infrastructure with the cost of damage estimated at $11.5 billion.

Torrential monsoon rains this month have compounded the suffering, sending water rushing from hilly areas and causing dangerously high water levels in two of Bangladesh's major rivers, the Brahmaputra and the Meghna.

Millions of Bangladeshis have little in the way of resources to fall back on, in a country where one in five people live below the poverty line and the average wage is less than $5 a day. 

Across India, Bangladesh and Nepal, some 550 people have died and millions more have been displaced from their homes, said the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. ...

The impact of the climate crisis on flooding is more complicated but studies have shown that monsoon rains are increasingly unpredictable and rivers are rising to higher levels than in the past.

A monsoon climate change assessment by the American Meteorological Society in June found that “continued global warming and urbanisation over the past century has already caused a significant rise in the intensity and frequency of extreme rainfall events in all monsoon regions”.

While discussing the need for early warning systems to boost resilience to disasters, World Meteorological Organisation Secretary-General Petteri Taalas noted this week that “climate change is increasing the risk of extreme rainfall events, flooding and coastal inundation”.

Dr Huq wrote this week that “it is now apparent that the year 2020 is clearly the year in which the impact of climate change can be identified in both Cyclone Amphan that hit Bangladesh and India a few months ago, as well as the current flooding which is affecting millions of people as well as crops and property”....

A study in June found that 10 per cent of the world’s most affluent people are responsible for between 25 and 43 per cent of environmental impact. In contrast, the world’s bottom 10 per cent income earners exert only around 3–5% of environmental impact.


Scientists are warning that British Columbia can expect forest fire season similar to the extremely intense ones that occurred in Australia from September 2019 onward. 

Okanagan Falls fire

A fire burning out of control near Okanagan Falls, B.C., on Aug. 18, 2020. (Jonah Lee-McNamee photo)

Forestry experts warn British Columbia can expect wildfires in the coming summers, increasingly, of a scale similar to those currently raging in Australia — thanks to climate change.

So far, fires across Australia have burned a total of 8.4 million hectares this wildfire season, killing 25 people and destroying thousands of homes.

“Australia is looking at five million hectares burning over a very large country,” Lori Daniels, a professor of forestry at the University of British Columbia told PressProgress. “We are already seeing fires of that sort of magnitude, if we look across western North America.”

Experts say Australia’s fires were made much worse by record-breaking hot and dry seasons. Similar drivers were seen in the summers of 2017 and 2018 in BC — when the province experienced its worst consecutive wildfire seasons on record.

“We know that fires are more intense and have greater impact when conditions are hot and dry, with low humidity and high winds,” Daniels said. “In the summer of 2017, at least 85 maximum temperature records were set in BC.”

report by the Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium at the University of Victoriafound BC’s 2017 wildfire season may have been up to 11 times more destructive due to the effects of climate change.

“A record 1.2 million ha burned in British Columbia, Canada’s extreme wildfire season of 2017,” the report reads. “Human-induced climate change contributed greatly to the probability of the observed extreme warm temperatures, high wildfire risk, and large burned areas.” ...

Although BC had a relatively quiet fire season in 2019, thanks to rainfall spells, Daniels said future seasons will likely be worse: “There has already been a trend over the last 30 years for increasing area burns for fires that are larger and more intense, and are exhibiting fire behaviours that are beyond the scope of what we have experienced prior to that.”

Others note forest fires also act as a positive feedback loop for the climate conditions that make more forest fires more likely.

Chilliwack-based wildfire ecologist Robert Gray told The Narwhal that “fires emit more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, which in turn increases global warming. It’s a vicious, vicious cycle.”


There are so many wildfires burningduring a summer that already has twice as many 100+ Fahrenheit degree days as last year now in California that the government cannot send firefighters to all of them. At the same time environmentalist scientists worn that conditions are likely to get worse in the future. 


Burned vehicles rest beneath a tree after the complex fires tore through Vacaville, Calif.

A blistering heat wave is breaking records from Texas to Washington State. California, where I am, may have seen the hottest temperature measured reliably anywhere on earth, 130 degrees Fahrenheit in Death Valley. The heat has caused rolling power blackouts across the state and contributed to dozens of wildfires. In parts of California, police are going door to door urging residents to evacuate. ...

There's a whole lot of research showing that climate change is going to make the conditions for extreme fire far more likely in the future, you know, not just here in the U.S., but around the world, so more fires burning at greater intensity in more places than ever before. You know, think about the fires that are also currently burning in Siberia. And it's not just because we're getting these kind of crazy record-breaking hot days, it's that nights are getting hotter, too.

“We've had almost double the amount of 100 degree days this summer than we did last summer,”  Michelle Mead, a warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sacramento, said. “In May we had that early heatwave, and then June was above normal, and now we've got this. So, it's just been an unfortunate summer.”

She blames a very dry winter that produced a meager snowpack and she says that allows “everything to heat up quicker and unfortunately, the fuels to dry out faster.”

The heatwave, the fires and weather patterns are in part related to climate change, says UCLA climate scientist Daniel Swain, because warming temperatures are “with great certainty” increasing these conditions.

“This whole event started as a record-breaking heat wave … and we also know that climate change is increasing the severity and the acres burned by wildfires in California.”



Israeli Apartheid Foreshadows What Global Climate Apartheid Will Look Like

"...The government-enforced deprivations of Palestinian resources by the Israeli settler-colonial state is one example of how climate change is already prompting capitalism to turn towards fascism and genocide. The food, water, shelter and electricity shortages that Israel's occupation have caused for the Palestinian population is making Palestinians more compelled to resist their oppressors which has no doubt contributed to Israel's recent anti-Palestinian massacres and to the perpetual tightenings of the apartheid enforcement apparatus..."


On Saturday even President Trump had to acknowledge the great damage being done by California wildfires by declaring it a "major disaster" in response to Governor Newsome's request for help in strengthening the state's emergency resources. The Scientific American article below describes in detail how climate change is strongly magnifying the problem. 

Fast-Moving California Wildfires Boosted by Climate Change

Embers blow off a burned tree after the LNU Lightning Complex Fire burned through the area on August 18, 2020 in Napa, California. Credit: Justin Sullivan Getty Images

The fast-moving fires, which are seen by many scientists as a sign of climate change, have killed five people, destroyed more than 1,000 structures and forced thousands to flee. More than 238,000 people either evacuated or were ready to go as more thunderstorms threatened to light new fires yesterday afternoon, according to officials. Still-active fires are affecting at least 23 counties in Northern California, stretching from Butte to Fresno. Two of the blazes rank among the largest in state history. ...

"The scope [of the damage] is absolutely astonishing," said Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at UCLA. It's "hard to impress on people just how vast the acreage burned is, especially considering there were no strong offshore winds" to drive the spread.

President Trump on Saturday issued a major disaster declaration to fulfill a request by Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) to bolster the state's emergency resources. Meanwhile, the National Weather Service issued a red flag warning for more thunderstorms and lightning through today.

The racing flames show how climate change is affecting the nation's most populous state, experts said. Hotter temperatures, less dependable precipitation and snowpack that melts sooner lead to drier soil and parched vegetation. Climate change also affects how much moisture is in the air, Swain said. ...

"It's actually drying out the air during these extreme heat events," which zaps plants of additional moisture, Swain said. That left much of the state a tinderbox when hundreds of lightning strikes scorched the countryside last week. This is really a testament to how dry the vegetation is, in terms of how quickly these fires spread when they were ignited by lightning," he said.

The amount of land burned last week is more than the total burned in all of 2018, and more than double the amount burned in 2017, according to data released by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire). ...

Fires erupted beginning Aug. 15 when more than 1,200 lightning strikes hit the baking landscape within 72 hours. Those came "the exact week that we were experiencing some of the hottest temperatures ever recorded in human history, 130-degree temperatures in the southern part of the state," Newsom said. It was "maybe the hottest modern recorded temperature in the history of the world," he said. He was referring to the temperature of 130 degrees Fahrenheit on Aug. 16 in Death Valley, a high not reached on Earth in 89 years. The highest temperature ever recorded on the planet is 134 Fahrenheit. ...

The heat is expected to get worse with time. Climate models estimate that average state temperatures will climb 3 degrees Fahrenheit by 2050 unless the world makes sharp cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, said Michael Wehner, a senior scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Even with emissions cuts, average temperatures would rise 2 degrees by midcentury, he said. ...

Swain with UCLA and other scientists earlier this year published a study that said climate change has doubled the number of extreme-risk days for California wildfires. It said temperatures statewide rose 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit since 1980, while precipitation dropped 30%. That doubled the number of autumn days that offer extreme conditions for the ignition of wildfires (Climatewire, April 3). 

The heat is expected to get worse with time. Climate models estimate that average state temperatures will climb 3 degrees Fahrenheit by 2050 unless the world makes sharp cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, said Michael Wehner, a senior scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Even with emissions cuts, average temperatures would rise 2 degrees by midcentury, he said.


While the running aground of the MV Wakashi on a reef off the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius represents a relatively tiny oil spill, in fact insignificant in terms of the biggest oil spills as the graph in the url below  illustrates, it provides a warning about the risks of continuing the global addiction to fossil fuels. However, this relatively small oil spill has caused major damage to the environment of Mauritius and the surrounding waters, as well as causing major damage to the island's fishing and tourist industries.


No place for a bulk carrier like the MV Wakashio.

 Bulk carrier like the MV Wakashio ran aground on a reef off the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius

The empty bulk carrier was 11 days into a month-long voyage from Singapore to Brazil, where it was due to pick up a cargo, when it ran aground just a mile off the island’s southern tip on July 25. About three-quarters of the oil in its tanks — some 3,900 tons of very low-sulfur fuel oil, 200 tons of diesel and 90 tons of lubricant — was transferred off the vessel. The rest leaked into the sea — much of it coming ashore in the Ile aux Aigrettes nature reserve, home to the last remnants of Mauritius’s dry coastal forest and the endangered species that depend on it.

Compared to the biggest oil spills from tankers hauling as much as 300,000 tons of crude across the world’s oceans, the volume of oil that spilled from the Wakashio is a drop in the ocean. But size isn’t everything. ...

The Exxon Valdez, probably the most infamous tanker spill in American waters, doesn’t even make a list of the 30 biggest oil spills from tankers worldwide — it comes in at number 36. ...

Because the ship wasn’t carrying oil as a cargo, Mauritius may have little hope of a big settlement if it wins one. Compensation could be limited to as little as $18 million under the 2001 Bunker Convention, according to global law firm Clyde & Co. That’s a pitifully small amount to offset the cost of the cleanup and the damage caused to fragile and unique species on Ile aux Aigrettes. ...

The accident will once again focus attention on the oil industry, as companies come under increasing pressure to bear responsibility for pollution caused by their product, as well as that resulting from their operations. Ships account for about 5% of global oil use and burn one of the heaviest, stickiest fractions of the barrel. ...



The article in the previous post about the MV Wakashi oil spill mentions that the Exxon Valdez  oil spill off the Alaskan coast in 1989 was only the 36th largest oil spill in history. Yet, the following article describes how the ongoing enviromental, economic and social impacts of that spill continue to this day, more than 30 years later. 

We continue to play Russian roulette, not only with global warming but also with oil spills, including along Canada's coasts, which are three times as large as those the nation with the second longest coastline, Norway. We face catastrophic risks from Alaskan oil heading to California along BC's coasts and our own oil exports which will soon increase thanks to the Trans Mountain pipeline that Trudeau generously bought and is building for a total cost of more than $17 billion, in the Maritimes from the overseas oil carriers bring oil to Canada and in the Arctic Ocean as the black gold northern oil rush grows, thanks  to the increasingly ice-free Arctic waters, ironically brought about by global warming. 


When the Exxon Valdez ran aground on Bligh Reef on March 24, 1989, it was transporting 53 million gallons of Alaskan North Slope crude oil bound for California. The spill dumped 10.8 million gallons of the tanker’s cargo into Prince William Sound, eventually damaging 1,300 miles of shoreline. Staff/TNS/Newscom

It was on March 24, 1989, the oil tanker Exxon Valdez struck the Bligh Reef in the Prince William Sound region of Alaska to begin one of the biggest maritime fatalities at that time. Exxon Valdez, then owned by Exxon Shipping Company, was en route t0 Long Beach, California. The tanker was loaded with roughly 54 million gallons oil of which 10.8 million gallons were released into the waters of Prince William Sound as the hull of the vessel was torn open in the accident. ...

As the collision of the supertanker with the reef ruptured 8 of its 11 cargo tanks, releasing 11 million gallons of crude oil-250,000 barrels-into the waters of Prince William Sound in the days to come, over 1,300 miles of coastline were contaminated. It was reportedly a delay in initiating the cleanup efforts that made this accident catastrophic. The oil slick spread to more areas within days, making it no longer containable.

As the oil slick spread, the ecosystem consisted of a variety of marine and other species was under threat. Plants and marine mammals in the cold region, which were already facing the threat of extinction because of the rise in temperatures, had to deal with this human error.

In addition, seabirds were also forced to succumb to this disaster as the oil slick in the water trapped them to drown eventually. It is estimated that almost 250,000 seabirds, 2,800 sea otters, up to 300 harbour seals, 250 bald eagles and at least 22 killer whales were killed in this deadliest accident.

In addition, the spill has also ended the lives of an unknown number of herring and salmon, the investigations conducted in the following months revealed. As an immediate result, the fisheries for crab, herring, rockfish, salmon and shrimp etc. were closed in the area, while a ban on the commercial fishing of some variety of shrimp and salmon remained through 1990.

While it affected many financially, the indirect impact of the oil spill was visible on the several ends of the fishing industry. ...

One of the immediate short-term effects of the casualty caused by the Exxon Valdez was the impact on recreational fishing which was carried out in the Prince William Sound. This was greatly hampered because of the penetration of oil into the waters. In the year that the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill was caused, there was a total financial loss of up to $580 million due to the reduction and in some areas, the complete absence of recreational fishing. ...

Even years after the accident, the region is yet to recover completely from the oil spill. The oil discharged from the Exxon Valdez still clogs the beaches in Alaska, the fishing industry that collapsed after the accident hasn’t recovered fully and the trauma it created among the fishing communities still remain- in the form of separated families and alcoholism etc. ...

 Over 11,000 personnel, 58 air crafts and 1,400 vessels were used to clear the affected area and it involved complex operations like relocating several marine creatures in order to safeguard their life till the clean-up operations were completed. The entire course of the clean-up operation took around three years from 1989 to 1992 and even now, monitoring is being carried out in the entire length of the coastline to observe any late-emerging effects of the oil spill.

According to reports, the shipping company spent more than $3.8 billion for the cleanup operations and also compensated 11,000 fishermen and others affected by the disaster. The accident also followed a number of legal battles between the shipping company and the federal government as well as Alaska fishermen’s union. In 1994, Exxon was asked by an Alaskan court to pay $5 billion in punitive damages. However, after a number of appeals, the U.S. Supreme Court reduced the amount to $507.5 million.

Additionally, tourism was also hampered throughout Alaska after the accident. The number of tourists arrived in Alaska was in a record low for almost a year following the oil spill, making a significant impact on the local economy. According to reports, the oil spill affected more than 26,000 jobs in the tourism industry and over $2.4 billion in business. ...

The cleaning of the surface oil’ was cleared up to a larger extent, while the ‘sub-surface oil’ remained as a cause for the negative impact on the ecology. The sub-surface oil appears to be inactive in terms of a negative impact but in reality, contains far more poisonous content that could harm not just the marine creatures but also the flora and fauna. At present, despite the clean-up, about 20 acres of the Alaskan coastline is supposed to be polluted by this sub-surface oil phenomenon.

The enormity of the marine casualty caused by Exxon Valdez is something that is being felt even in recent times and will be seen even in the future.


The following article discusses how the fossil fuel industry, and major fossil fuel producing countries including the US, Saudi Arabia and Russia, as well as Canada at times, have attacked not only the science but the climate scientists during the last 30 years in a successful attempt to delay action on climate change. 

A group of people cross a shallow lagoon at dusk in the tropics.

Kiribati is an island nation that is at risk of disappearing due to sea level rise: when scientists warned of the danger to the existence of island states like Kiribati the counterattack was to attack scientists

Thirty years ago, in a small Swedish city called Sundsvall, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its first major report.

Even then, the major dilemmas facing those who sought rapid action were clear. An account by Jeremy Leggett, who had thrown in a well-paid job as a geologist for Shell to become Greenpeace’s climate campaigner, reported the events of that first summit, including an encounter with coal industry lobbyist Don Pearlman. They had their heads down, copies of the draft negotiating text for the IPCC final report open in front of them. Pearlman was pointing at the text, and talking in a forceful growl… As I walked past, I saw him pointing to a particular paragraph and I heard him say, quite distinctly, ‘if we can cut a deal here…’ Although it seems so naïve now, I was shocked.

Days later, a delegate from the Pacific island of Kiribati pleaded with the conference for a breakthrough in the negotiations: "Concerted international action is needed to drastically decrease our consumption of fossil fuels. The time to start is now. In the low-lying nations, the threat… of global warming and sea level rise is frightening. I hope this meeting will not fail us. Thank you."

Shortly afterwards the US delegation "tabled a catalogue of attempted emasculations” of the text. Along with the Saudi and Soviet delegations, representatives of the richest and most powerful country in the world “chipped away at the draft, watering down the sense of alarm in the wording, beefing up the aura of uncertainty”.

It would be a painful three decades for people anxious to see action on climate change. For the scientists investigating the problem, it would often be a personal battle against powerful interests. ...

The Reagan White House worried that a treaty on CO₂ might happen as quickly, and set about ensuring the official scientific advice guiding leaders at the negotiations was under at least partial control. So emerged the intergovernmental – rather than international – panel on climate change, in 1988.

Already before Sundsvall, in 1989, figures in the automotive and fossil fuel industries of the US had set up the Global Climate Coalition to argue against rapid action and to cast doubt on the evidence. Alongside thinktanks, such as the George Marshall Institute, and trade bodies, such as the Western Fuels Association, it kept up a steady stream of publishing in the media – including a movie – to discredit the science.

But their efforts to discourage political commitment were only partially successful. The scientists held firm, and a climate treaty was agreed in 1992. And so attention turned to the scientists themselves. ...

In 1996, there were sustained attacks on climate scientist Ben Santer, who had been responsible for synthesising text in the IPCC’s second assessment report. He was accused of having “tampered with” wording and somehow “twisting” the intent of IPCC authors by Fred Seitz of the Global Climate Coalition.

In the late 1990s, Michael Mann, whose famous “hockey stick” diagram of global temperatures was a key part of the third assessment report, came under fire from right-wing thinktanks and even the Attorney General of Virginia. Mann called this attempt to pick on scientists perceived to be vulnerable to pressure “the Serengeti strategy”: By singling out a sole scientist, it is possible for the forces of “anti-science” to bring many more resources to bear on one individual, exerting enormous pressure from multiple directions at once, making defence difficult. It is similar to what happens when a group of lions on the Serengeti seek out a vulnerable individual zebra at the edge of a herd. ...

As the evidence became ever more compelling, the attacks on scientists escalated. In late 2009, just before the Copenhagen climate summit, emails among climate scientists were hacked and released. They were carefully selected to make it seem as if scientists were guilty of scaremongering. The so-called “climategate” scandal was not to blame for Copenhagen’s failure, but it kept climate deniers energised and helped muddy the waters enough to make it seem as if legitimate doubt persisted over the scientific consensus. ...

Thanks to COVID-19, the next IPCC assessment report probably won’t be delivered before the delayed conference in Glasgow at the end of 2021. There probably won’t be anything in it that tells us more than what we already know – CO₂ levels are rising, the consequences are piling up, and campaigns for delaying meaningful action have been spectacularly successful for the last 30 years.

Some scientists, including Columbia University professor James Hansen, argue that the agonising efforts of scientists to avoid provoking accusations of alarmism have led to an innate optimism bias. The official science reported by the IPCC may in some cases be a cautious underestimate. It’s likely worse – much worse – than we think.

If the last three decades have taught the international community anything, it’s that “the science” is not a single, settled entity which, presented properly, will spur everyone to action. There are no shortcuts to the technological, economic, political and cultural changes needed to tackle climate change. That was true 30 years ago in Sundsvall. The only thing that has changed is the time in which we have left to do anything.



A new study finds that both the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets, as well as other glaciers, are melting at the worst rates predictions of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)'s most recent report, which would result in many more millions of people facing flooding in coastal regions around the world.  As a result of this melting, sea level rise is now primarily due to melting ice instead of thermal expansion of water due to the heating of water due to climate change. 

With Canada having the longest coastline of any country in the world, it is an enormous problem that the Trudeau government has failed to address in adopting Harper's greenhouse emissions targets and then failing to even meet these abysmally low targets while subsidizing further pipeline and fossil fuel development, including the Trans Mountain pipeline.

An aerial view of the icebergs near Kulusuk Island

An aerial view of the icebergs near Kulusuk Island, off the southeastern coastline of Greenland, a region that is exhibiting an accelerated rate of ice loss.

Ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica whose melting rates are rapidly increasing have raised the global sea level by 1.8cm since the 1990s, and are matching the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's worst-case climate warming scenarios.

According to a new study from the University of Leeds and the Danish Meteorological Institute, if these rates continue, the ice sheets are expected to raise sea levels by a further 17cm and expose an additional 16 million people to annual coastal flooding by the end of the century.

Since the ice sheets were first monitored by satellite in the 1990s, melting from Antarctica has pushed global sea levels up by 7.2mm, while Greenland has contributed 10.6mm. And the latest measurements show that the world's oceans are now rising by 4mm each year.

"Although we anticipated the ice sheets would lose increasing amounts of ice in response to the warming of the oceans and atmosphere, the rate at which they are melting has accelerated faster than we could have imagined," said Dr Tom Slater, lead author of the study and climate researcher at the Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling at the University of Leeds.

"The melting is overtaking the climate models we use to guide us, and we are in danger of being unprepared for the risks posed by sea level rise." ...

The results are published today in a study in the journal Nature Climate Change. It compares the latest results from satellite surveys from the Ice Sheet Mass Balance Intercomparison Exercise (IMBIE) with calculations from climate models. The authors warn that the ice sheets are losing ice at a rate predicted by the worst-case climate warming scenarios in the last large IPCC report. ...

So far, global sea levels have increased in the most part through a mechanism called thermal expansion, which means that volume of seawater expands as it gets warmer. But in the last five years, ice melt from the ice sheets and mountain glaciers has overtaken global warming as the main cause of rising sea levels.

Dr Ruth Mottram, study co-author and climate researcher at the Danish Meteorological Institute, said: "It is not only Antarctica and Greenland that are causing the water to rise. In recent years, thousands of smaller glaciers have begun to melt or disappear altogether, as we saw with the glacier Ok in Iceland, which was declared "dead" in 2014. This means that melting of ice has now taken over as the main contributor of sea level rise. "


Ed Markey's victory in Massachusetts against a Kennedy demonstrates that the Green New Deal can be a powerful political winner. His support of the Green New Deal and the backing of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and an army of young environmental activists enabled him to beat Kennedy and his family's string of 26 never-defeated victories 55%-45%, pointing the way to how campaingns closely tied to the Green New Deal can change politics as usual. 

Ed Markey celebrates his victory on Tuesday night.

 Ed Markey celebrates his victory on Tuesday night. Photograph: Michael Dwyer/AP

US climate advocates have their highest-profile evidence yet that putting the crisis first can win elections. And it arrived in an unlikely package: a 74-year-old Senate incumbent, who garnered intense grassroots support from young activists.

Ed Markey this week won a decisive victory in the Massachusetts Democratic primary election over Joe Kennedy who was challenging for his seat, the latest scion of the American political dynasty who had backing from the country’s top Democrat, the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi. ...

Markey was trailing Kennedy earlier in the race, before the youth-led Sunrise Movement intervened to back him as one of their biggest allies in the Senate. Volunteers phone-banked and provided the content for a much-heralded campaign ad where Markey repurposed John F Kennedy’s historic phrase as president and told Americans to “start asking what your country can do for you”.

It came as no surprise that climate was the major focus of Markey’s campaign. He introduced the Green New Deal alongside the New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez last year. And his name is on the Waxman-Markey climate bill of 2009, which is the closest Congress has ever come to taking significant action on climate change.

For years, polls have shown that a majority of Americans are concernedabout climate change, and many rank it among their top issues. But few campaigns have sought to make virtually an entire campaign about the crisis as Markey did.

“We see that climate has risen as a major issue for Democrats and is especially important to the more progressive wing of the Democratic party,” said Edward Maibach, who directs George Mason University’s Center for Climate Change Communication and routinely surveys Americans on the issue. “I think that came through loudly and clearly, and we’re going to see it come through loudly and clearly in other elections this fall.”

Varshini Prakash, the executive director of the Sunrise Movement, said the group’s volunteers made hundreds of thousands of calls to encourage voters to support Markey. A hub of high-schoolers in Lexington, Massachusetts, conducted 14 phone-banking events even before they joined up with the national group, she said. Prakash said: “There is no more visible leader on the Green New Deal than Ed Markey, save AOC [Ocasio-Cortez]. ...

As the group Data for Progress put it shortly before the election: “Markey is an ally, and the left is out to prove that becoming an ally is more than just not a hazard to your career – it’s a benefit.” ...

Maggie Thomas, political director at advocacy group Evergreen Action, said the climate crisis is no longer just one campaign issue among many. With hurricanes on the Gulf coast, wildfires in California and a derecho – an intense wind storm – in Iowa, she said: “We are seeing the effects of climate all around us. Climate change looks different in lots of different places. The specifics of how Markey campaigned on climate doesn’t mean it’s an exact plug-and-play for how someone else might run on climate, but I think that what it does show is that you can campaign on climate and you can win on climate.”


Deeply concerned about their drop in poll numbers due to the We charity crisis, the Trudeau Liberal prorogued Parliament and stated the legislature will start again on September 23rd and a brand new extensive legislative agenda that will face a vote of confidence immediately after the Throne Speech laying out their agenda. No doubt it will involve a nice-sounding climate change program, even more so after Ed Markey's Green New Deal victory in Massachusetts yesterday, which is described in the previous post, emphasizes the growing support for major action on global warming. 

However the Trudeau and Liberal track record on climate change has been lots of promises followed by actions that increased greenhouse gas emissions and environmental problems. 

 Resource energy versus the environment

The Liberal 25 year history of promising to deal with global warming has been one long series of promises followed by actions that always fail to meet their greenhouse emissions reduction targets and often result in an increase in emissions.

“Canada has missed two separate emission reduction targets (the 1992 Rio target and the 2005 Kyoto target) and is likely to miss the 2020 Copenhagen target as well. In fact, emissions in 2020 are expected to be nearly 20 per cent above the target.” (

The Liberals were deeply involved in negotiating the 1997 Kyoto Accord agreeing that "Canada's Kyoto target was a 6% total reduction by 2012 compared to 1990 levels of 461 Megatonnes (Mt)". Instead the 1997 emissions of 671 Mt during the year of the signing of the Kyoto Accord had risen to 747 Mt in 2005, the last full year of a Liberal government before the Conservatives took over. This was 33% above the 1997 Liberal Kyoto target. (

The Liberals declared a climate emergency in June 2019 and the following day announced the tripling of the Trans Mountain pipeline to carry bitumen to the coast bringing about a massive expansion of the fossil fuel production. Trudeau won the understatement of the year award today when he said "Not everyone will agree with this".  

Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna called climate change a “real and urgent crisis, driven by human activity,” requiring the government to make deep emissions reductions to meet its Paris commitments. The Liberals have failed previously failed to meet their greenhouse gas reduction goals of 1992, 1997, and 2005.

 The Trudeau Liberals promised major action on climate change in the 2015 election then adopted the weak Harper greenhouse gas emission targets, but couldn't even meet those. In March 2018 the auditor general concluded  the Trudeau Liberal government "is likely to miss the 2020 Copenhagen target as well". (

In April 2019 Environment Commissioner Julie Gelfand concluded "Canada is not on track to hit its 2030 target,". These targets were actually those of the Conservative Harper government. (


Despite the warnings from the Auditor-General and Environmental Commissioner in 2018 and 2019 described in the last post that the Trudeau government would not meet its 2020 and 2030 greenhouse gas emission reduction targets and the growing scientific evidence of the rapidly growing impacts of climate change in Canada and globally, the Trudeau Liberals kept pushing further fossil fuel development.  

Miles of unused pipe, prepared for the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline, sit rusting in North Dakota.

The Trudeau government, supposedly committed to dealing with global warming, continued to push forward with:

(1) the Trans Mountain pipeline to the BC coast to triple tarsands oil transportation;

(2) looked at approving the Frontier Mine in Alberta, which "would  cover 24,000-hectares (roughly double the size of the City of Vancouver) and would produce 260,000 barrels of bitumen each day at its peak ( making it one of the largest oilsands mines until the company pulled out of the plan;

 (3) completed Enbridge's Line 3 to Manitoba in December 2019 that " will have oil export capacity of 760,000 barrels per day (bpd)" when the US portion is finished this year (,

(4) proposed a $14 billion LNG pipeline from Ontario to Saguenay Quebec for export to Europe, Asia and Brazil that only failed to come to fruition when Warren Buffet concluded it was not going to work financially (

(5) The Trudeau government "treated Donald Trump’s election as “positive news” for Canada’s energy industry and welcomed the help of Canada’s main corporate oil group in lobbying the US administration, documents show." ( Therefore, there is no doubt the Trudeau Liberals are celebrated the announcement that work on the US portion of the XL pipeline would resume in February. Again this fell through, this time because of US court action, not because of the Trudeau government. 

As the climate change activist he claims to be, Trudeau is truly unique. No doubt his new climate change plan that is aimed at either sustaining him in power or provoking an election where he will again claim to be the climate change hero, will have as much success should he be re-elected as all the other Liberal climate change plans of the last 25 years. 

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Extinction Rebellion: rights experts say peaceful protest in UK under threat

Civil liberty experts have warned that peaceful protest is under threat in the UK, after the environmental campaigners were targeted with pre-emptive arrest and “unworkable restrictions” were placed on this week’s Extinction Rebellion (XR) demonstrations.

Thousands of people have taken to the streets this week to highlight the escalating climate emergency and demand urgent action from the government.

More than 200 campaigners have so far been arrested. The civil liberties group Liberty said legitimate protest was being hampered by forceful police tactics.....


Some of the anarchist organizers before the Toronto G8 summit were arrested and some of them spent months in jail for planning to block streets illegally even though they were in jail when the protests took place.


In 2020 Trudeau has continued subsidizing the fossil fuel industry while claiming to be a climate change champion as was described in the posts #462 and #463. He has further increased subsidies during the pandemic recovery making Canada #2 in the world in fossil fuel subsidies, started new oil exploratation projects off the Newfoundland coast by eliminating marine envirnomental assessments for exploratory wells, and begun to redefine greenhouse gas emissions so that they appear lower than they actually are. 

Nobel-winning economists, financial experts and even the highly conservative International Energy Agency (IEA) are all pushing governments to use stimulus to decarbonize the economy. ...

So, the question for every government becomes: how much money are you spending on fossil fuels during the pandemic recovery?

Fortunately, a new coalition has come together to track the answers from each of the world’s largest economies. We’ve taken this data compiled by Energy Policy Tracker and charted new government support for fossil fuels by each of the G20 countries since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis. (Note that to allow fair comparisons across countries, the charts list all values in USD per capita.)

New support for fossil fuels during 2020 pandemic by G20 countries

As you can see in this first G20 chart, Canadians are at the top of the fossil support charts. Canada has committed nearly ten times the G20 average per capita — for a total of $12 billion so far this year in new fossil fuel support. Only France, with its massive bailout of Air France, has managed to spend more per person, at this point.

You can also see that we’ve added a little green cap onto the top of the bar representing Canada. That’s the amount of money Canadian governments have committed to clean energy (again, per capita).


In Newfoundland the goal is to produce 650,000 more barrels of oil a day by 2030 from the Newfoundland offshore. So much for Trudeau's greenhouse emission reduction targets. The excerpts from the following article are translated from the original French of the Le Devoir article. 

Proposed exploratory oil well drilling off Newfoundland

As Canada is hit by a health crisis that is hogging media attention, the Trudeau government continues to take steps to accelerate oil drilling in the marine environment, Le Devoir noted.

It is currently conducting a public consultation to eliminate the environmental assessments required for exploratory drilling in eastern Newfoundland. At least 100 of these holes are planned by 2030. ...

The ongoing process goes completely unnoticed as Canadians face the coronavirus crisis, but it is nonetheless crucial to foster the development of the petroleum industry in eastern Canada over the next few years.


Canada's mismanaged forests have changed from carbon sinks that absorb carbon dioxide to extremely large carbon emitters that release more CO2 than our fossil fuel industries during the last decade thanks to the logging practices that the federal and provincial governments have allowed. 

Instead of dealing with this critical climate change problem, as well as its effects on the logging industry, the Trudeau government has simply redefined the way emissions are reported in order to make the emissions look smaller. In other words, they are cooking the books to make the problem disappear from the public's eyes. 

Death and decay are winning in Canada's vast managed forest lands. And this victory is unleashing a rising flood of climate pollution. Put simply, our forests are dying and being cut down faster than they can grow back.In 2018, the flood of CO2 pouring out of them reached record levels, at nearly a quarter billion tonnes of CO2 in a single year. That's more than Canada's once biggest climate pollution source — the oil and gas sector — emitted that year. ...

The Canadian government isn't planning new climate policies to lower this new source of emissions. Instead, it's trying use creative accounting to shift all responsibility off the current books. They've needed three big changes, so far, to do it:

  1. Exclude most forest emissions from the books
  2. Shift billions of tonnes of logging carbon on to future books
  3. Weaken forestry's climate target

Rule change #1 -- ignore most of it

Carbon balance of Canada's managed forests, under revised rule that excludes least healthy areas

The first change was to stop reporting on any forest areas that have been heavily impacted by fires, insects or extreme weather. This change pushed a quarter of Canada's managed forest lands -- and most forest emissions -- off the books.

In 2017, Canada's managed forests lost 230 MtCO2. That's what Canada used to report on its books. But now it reports only 17 MtCO2. Even so, that's still more than the entire province of Nova Scotia emits from all sources.



Rule change #2 -- push gigatonnes into the future

Canada used to count it all in the year the wood was cut. ... A couple years ago, Canada switched to reporting wood CO2 in the year it got emitted back into the air. That's a smaller number. ... Overall, this change retroactively shifted 2,500 MtCO2 from Canada's current and past books onto the future books for Canadians to deal with later.

Rule change #3 -- weaken the target

Ottawa has been wanting to use a big whack of forest carbon "offsets" to meet Canada's 2030 climate target. But our forests are collapsing so fast that even the two huge rule changes discussed above weren't enough to save any. So, the government made a third rule change to weaken the target used to claim offsets.

Historically, Canada has used the same target for all its land use sectors, which includes managed forests and the wood logged out of them. This target is zero per cent below their 2005 baseline level. My next chart shows how this applied to managed forestry.

So, the government decided to create a new, weaker, type of climate target just for managed forests. It's called a "reference level" target and is shown by the orange dotted line on the chart. This is their guestimate for business-as-usual. Now, anything below this guestimatewill be used to "offset" emissions elsewhere. As you can see, this third change weakened the target so much that it turned zero credits into more than twenty million tonnes of credits. ...

The climate science is clear that the path to a safe and sane climate future requires us to eliminate all sources of excess CO2, regardless of origin.

So far, however, Ottawa has responded to this emerging CO2 threat by trying to push this rising new flood of CO2 off the books. To do this, they've had to roll out a series of big and controversial changes in how they account for forest carbon

But the atmosphere and the laws of physics don't care what kinds of creative accounting we try. They only react to the total amount of CO2 accumulating in the air. And in Canada, total emissions of CO2 are not going down as promised and as required for a safe future.


[WARNING/BEWARE: Evil Putin's Media!]

On Contact: Chevron vs Donziger

"On the show this week, Chris Hedges talks to Steven Donziger about the reach of corporate power. Donziger battled corporate oil giant, Chevron, over environmental politics and destruction in Ecuador and won a settlement of $9.5 billion for indigenous communities. Since then Chevron has waged a campaign against Donziger to try to destroy him economically, professionally and personally. He is on trial in federal court in New York on Sept 9 for contenpt charges which could send him to jail..."


Going Underground: Noam Chomsky (Ep 917)

"On this episode of Going Underground, we speak to world-renowned American dissident and co-author of 'Climate Crisis and the Global Green New Deal' Noam Chomsky. He discusses why a Green New Deal is the most important project in human history amid the climate emergency and COVID-19 pandemic, how a Green New Deal would help to radically restructure the economy to benefit the majority after the coronavirus economic collapse, the role of corporations and big banks in the climate crisis, the state of capitalism and the American population..."


Biden Not Phasing Out Fossil Fuel, Relies on Carbon Capture - Robert Pollin (podcast)

"...Biden climate plan reveals an over-reliance on unproven carbon capture and far too limited investment in solar and wind. Biden positions the plan as part of rivalry with China instead of climate cooperation."



St. John's is planning to strengthen its infrastructure as storms such as the winter 2020 in the picture below hit Newfoundland harder and harder due to climate change. The trouble is it doesn't have the huge amount of money to do this. 

Remember that January storm that dropped 76 centimetres of snow on Newfoundland? Cindy Day says it was a great example of climate change, as the storm "was like a winter hurricane.”

Remember that January storm that dropped 76 centimetres of snow on Newfoundland? Cindy Day says it was a great example of climate change, as the storm "was like a winter hurricane.” ...

As a veteran weather observer, SaltWire chief meteorologist Cindy Day knows no single day, season, or year can tell us where trends are headed. ...

“To form a climate opinion, you really need ten years of data to look for a trend. One winter won’t do it, you have to step back and do a decade,” says Day. But within that trend, things happen because of climate change, and that storm in Newfoundland is a good example of that. That storm had energy almost like a hurricane. In fact, the sustained winds were category 2 hurricane force. That was like a winter hurricane.” ...

“The sea surface temperatures off the coast were one-and-a-half to two degrees above average. Doesn’t sound like a lot in terms of a temperature, but for a sea-surface temperature, that’s huge,” says Day. So that energy fueled into the cold air above, and that just was explosive. We called it a weather bomb, and that has a true definition. People don’t like that expression, but it’s a very rapid drop in central pressure of a system.”


St. John's is making changes to city infrastructure in preparation for a wetter, warmer future with more intense storms.

A report on climate models for the coastal Newfoundland and Labrador capital was presented at city hall earlier this month, predicting rainier winters, warmer summers and more frequent storms leading up to 2050. The report also predicted sea levels to rise through the end of the century. The data will be used to inform a formal sustainability plan due next summer, but Coun. Ian Froude said Tuesday some actions are already underway. ...

"St. John's will be almost four times more likely to see a storm with approximately 133 millimetres of rainfall over 24 hours by mid-century," the report reads, citing work by Memorial University of Newfoundland scientists. It also notes that freezing rain events are projected to increase overall. Less precipitation is expected to fall on the city during the winter, but weather events will have greater intensity. Less snow is also projected, meaning "it is likely that more winter precipitation will be freezing rain or rain. Most storm events are projected to increase in frequency and intensity. ...

Councillor Ian Froude, council lead for the Public Works and Sustainability Department, ... said some projects require more funds than the municipality has available.



Why is Nfld getting much more snow, because their climate is so maritime? In Montréal we have far less, and milder winters, however this means more ice, which is extremely dangerous for pedestrians and even for motor vehicle collisions. We need better methods of ice cleaning.


California is seeing record temperatures and wildfires as global warming contines to become stronger in its impacts. These impacts are also hitting Canada, as global warming by definition doesn't recognize the Canadian-US border.

 In Los Angeles the temperature hit 121 degrees Fahrenheit on September 5th ( and a what "may be the hottest reliably recorded temperature in world history" occrred in August when the temperature hit 130 degrees (

The record California wildfires follow a decades-lomg trend that is clear from the following map and graphs. 

Trends in the annual number of large fires in the western United States

Those trends are only predicted to get worse according to climate scientists as new records are set in wildfire acreage burnt in California this summer. 

California just witnessed one of its hottest weekends in memory, which intensified destructive wildfires that erupted. The scorching temperatures forced the National Weather Service to issue heat alerts for nearly the entire state. Many areas were also under red-flag warnings for high fire danger as the heat worsened blazes already burning and helped fuel new ones. Numerous locations in California experienced their hottest September day on record Sunday. A few spots saw their highest temperatures ever observed in any month. ...

Since Aug. 15, the state has seen more than 1.6 million acres burned and 900 new fires started, along with eight deaths and nearly 3,300 destroyed structures. In an average California fire season to date, about 310,000 acres are burned, according to Cal Fire, the state firefighting agency. ...

The blistering heat helped fuel a serious wildfire situation Saturday when the Creek Fire in the Sierra National Forest erupted, about 290 miles north of Los Angeles. The blaze was first detected Friday night and rapidly grew to at least 45,500 acres by Sunday afternoon. That fire trapped about 1,000 people near Mammoth Pool reservoir as flames crossed the San Joaquin River, including about 150 people who became stranded at a boat launch, the Associated Press reported.   200 people were rescued from the Mammoth Pool Campground by military helicopters. ...

Studies show human-caused climate change is tilting the odds in favor of more frequent, severe and longer-lasting heat waves, as well as larger wildfires throughout large parts of the West. Research published last month, for example, shows climate change is tied to more frequent occurrences of extreme-fire-risk days in parts of California during the fall. (Meteorologists define the fall as beginning Sept. 1.)

Michael Wehner, who researches extreme weather events at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, estimates “climate change has caused extreme heat waves to be 3 to 4 degrees Fahrenheit warmer in California.” These trends “will continue as the planet continues to warm,” he said in an email, noting the amount of warming will depend on future greenhouse gas emissions. 

The heat wave has prompted warnings from the operator of California’s electricity grid that rolling blackouts may need to be instituted during times of peak power use, and it has asked residents to take steps to reduce electricity use during times of peak demand.




Green Billionaires Behind Professional Activist Network That Led Suppression of 'Planet of the Humans' Documentary

"The Michael Moore-produced 'Planet of the Humans' faced a coordinated suppression campaign led by professional climate activists backed by the same 'green' billionaires, Wall Street investors, industry insiders and family foundations skewered in the film. 'We must take control of our environmental movement and our future from billionaires and their permanent war on Planet Earth. They are not our friends..."


A new report by regulators of the United States commodities markets entitled Managing Climate Risk in the Financial System, concludes that global warming is a threat to US financial markets, not just the environment. 

Firefighters extinguished hot spots in an area destroyed by the El Dorado wildfire near Yucaipa, Calif., on Monday.

Firefighters extinguished hot spots in an area destroyed by the El Dorado wildfire near Yucaipa, Calif., on Monday.

A report commissioned by federal regulators overseeing the nation’s commodities markets has concluded that climate change threatens U.S. financial markets, as the costs of wildfires, storms, droughts and floods spread through insuranceand mortgage markets, pension funds and other financial institutions.

“A world wracked by frequent and devastating shocks from climate change cannot sustain the fundamental conditions supporting our financial system,” concluded the report, “Managing Climate Risk in the Financial System,” which was requested last year by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and set for release on Wednesday morning. ...

The new report asserts that doing nothing to avert climate change will do the opposite. “This is the first time a government entity has looked at the impacts of climate change on financial markets in the U.S.,” said Robert Litterman, the chairman of the panel that produced the report and a founding partner of Kepos Capital, an investment firm based in New York. “Rather than saying, ‘What’s the science?’ this is saying, ‘What’s the financial risk?’ ” ...

The authors of the report acknowledged that if Mr. Trump is re-elected, his administration is all but certain to ignore the report and its recommendations.

The report also suggests that bank regulators should roll out a climate risk stress testing pilot program. Such stress tests, which assess how bank balance sheets and the broader system would fare in bad climate-related economic scenarios, have been under development in Britain and elsewhere in Europe.

The authors also recommend that another financial regulator, the Securities and Exchange Commission, strengthen its existing requirements that publicly traded companies disclose the risks to their bottom lines associated with climate change.

Coca-Cola has noted in its financial disclosures that water shortages driven by climate change pose a risk to its production chains and profitability. But many other companies “just check the box” on that requirement, Mr. Keohane said.

Such disclosures should also include the risk to companies’ bottom lines posed by future policies designed to mitigate climate change, such as taxes or regulations on carbon dioxide pollution, which could hurt fossil fuel producers.


Wildfires are setting records in California, Oregon and Washington states. In California, this is still early in its wildfire season, so much damage so the record temperatures and dry conditions brought on by global warming is expected to get worse there.  Idaho, Nevada, Arizona and Utah are also facing major wildfire problems.


The Bidwell Bar Bridge is surrounded by fire in Lake Oroville during the Bear fire in Oroville, California on September 9, 2020.

While California’s climate has always made the state prone to fires, the link between human-caused climate change and bigger fires is inextricable, said Park Williams, a bioclimatologist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. “This climate change connection is straightforward: Warmer temperatures dry out fuels,” he said. “In areas with abundant and very dry fuels, all you need is a spark.”


Wildfires have burned a record 8,000 square kilometres in California this year, and the danger for more destruction is so great that the U.S. Forest Service announced Monday it was closing all eight national forests in the state's southern half.

After a typically dry summer, California is parched heading into fall and what normally is the most dangerous time for wildfires. Two of the three largest fires in state history are burning in the San Francisco Bay Area. More than 14,000 firefighters are battling those fires and dozens of others more around California.

A three-day heat wave brought triple-digit temperatures to much of the state during Labour Day weekend. But right behind it was a weather system with dry winds that could fan fires. The state's largest utility, Pacific Gas & Electric, was preparing to cut power to 158,000 customers in 21 counties in the northern half of the state to reduce the possibility its lines and other equipment could spark new fires. ...

This wildfire season has already broken the previous record of 7,931 square kilometres burned in 2018. ...

Downtown Los Angeles reached 44 C on Sunday and a record-shattering high of 49.4 C was recorded in the nearby Woodland Hills neighborhood of the San Fernando Valley. It was the highest temperature ever recorded in Los Angeles County, according to the National Weather Service.


Record-breaking wildfires in the western U.S. have turned skies shocking shades of bright red and orange this week, thanks to a relentless and unprecedented fire season across multiple states. Social media users are sharing "apocalyptic" photos and videos of the hazy sky, comparing it to the planet Mars, the film "Blade Runner 2049" and the shows "Stranger Things" and "Avatar: The Last Airbender."

Parts of Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona and Utah are currently under critical and elevated risk of fire weather, according to the National Weather Service. Air quality in some regions has reached hazardous levels, and tens of thousands of firefighters are battling day and night to contain the thousands of fires. 

Oregon Governor Kate Brown declared a wildfire emergency on Tuesday and ordered evacuations throughout the state. Most Californians remain under Red Flag Warning as the state surpassed its wildfire record. Washington Governor Jay Inslee said this week that more acres burned on Labor Day "than in 12 of the last entire fire seasons in the state of Washington."


Feds Pushed To Abandon Trade Talks With Brazil Over Amazon Deforestation From Fires

"Greenpeace Canada is calling on the federal goverment [of 'Brazil North'] to suspend trade talks with Brazil after new data from Brazil's own space agency shows the devastation in the Amazon is even worse this year than in 2019. Most fires are created intentionally by cattle farmers...."


(2018) Third Canada-Brazil Strategic Partnership Dialogue to be Held in Ottawa

"Canada and Brazil enjoy a strong relationship. We work closely together such as in the G20, at the WTO, through the OAS and in the Lima Group. Tomorrow's dialogue is an important way to maintain our strong relationship... -

Hon. Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs."

Birds of a feather...


Freakish Arctic Fires Alarmingly Intensify intensify/

"NASA satellite images of fires in eastern Siberia depict an inferno of monstrous proportions, nothing in history competes. Abnormally high temperatures have spawned an intense fire season in eastern Siberia this summer..."


Earliest Snowfall on Record Blankets Northern New Mexico

"The town of Red River was expected to get eight meters of snow and temperatures dipping down into the 20s."


A summary of Canada's sorry history on climate change action: 

Editorial cartoon

Jan. 25 editorial cartoon. - Graeme MacKay , The Hamilton Spectator  The funding for Canada's Climate Change and Atmospheric Research program was not renewed in the 2017 federal budget

To the outside world, it may appear Canada has its climate act together. Dignitaries applauded the Canadian delegation’s role in getting the Paris Agreement over the finish line in 2015. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau marched in student-led climate strikes and rubbed elbows with climate change activist Greta Thunberg. And last fall, the federal Liberals – campaigning on promises to take bold climate action – managed to hold onto enough seats to form a minority government for its second term.

But the numbers that truly matter tell a different story: After five years under a Liberal government, Canada’s emissions trajectory is finally trending downwards, but so slowly that it is impossible to celebrate.

Our biggest test still lies ahead. Despite signing onto international agreements to reduce emissions, from the 1997 Kyoto Protocol to the 2015 Paris Agreement, Canada has missed every emissions target it has ever set.

The federal government has committed to cutting emissions by 30 percent over 2005 levels by 2030 and getting Canada to net-zero emissions by 2050. How it plans to deliver on these commitments is still unclear. With the current strategies in place, Canada is set to miss its Harper-era 2030 target by 12 percent (let alone the stronger 2030 target the Liberals have been promising for years). This does not bode well for hitting net-zero in 2050.

Canada has been here before. Political leaders – Conservative and Liberal – have repeatedly committed to tackling climate change but Canada keeps missing its emissions targets. Political promises are easily broken and those in power face no real consequences when this happens. To date, reprimands from watchdogs, climate scientists and environmental groups have had little effect. ...

Polling shows that 73 percent of Canadians want a broad transformation of our society instead of a return to the status quo. So why do federal and provincial governments continue to provide the fossil fuel industry with $16 billion in aid, even in the midst of a pandemic? Canadians have been subsidizing emissions for years – in 2015 each individual Canadian paid approximately $1,650 to prop up fossil fuel companies. Now, people are asking for change. And the responsibility for meeting that demand lies on the shoulders of politicians.


The Attorney Gerneral of Delaware is suing 30 fossil fuel companies for damage they have done to the state of the last fifty years because that is how long the companies have known the damage their greenhouse emissions have caused and misled the public. There are already 22,000 state residents threatened by sea level rise. Three other US states have already sued fossil fuel companies over climage change damage. With the lowest average height above sea level of any US state Delaware is already suffering greatly from global warming. 


Flood damage from Hurricane Irene at Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge in Delaware.

Sea level rise damage to highway Delaware, the state with the lowest average height above sea level

Delaware, the home state of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, announced on Thursday, September 10 that it is taking dozens of major oil and gas companies including BP, Chevron, and ExxonMobil to court over the rising costs of climate impacts such as sea level rise and coastal flooding.

Like other U.S. states and municipalities suing the fossil fuel industry, Delaware says that the industry knew half a century ago about the likely climate impacts resulting from the use of its products, but instead of warning the public or changing their business model, the fossil fuel companies engaged in campaigns to attack climate science and downplay the risks of burning coal, oil, and gas in order to stave off policy responses.

“Delawareans are already paying for the malfeasance of the world’s biggest fossil fuel companies,” Attorney General Kathy Jennings said in a press release. “Exxon, Chevron, and other mega-corporations knew exactly what kind of sacrifices the world would make to support their profits, and they deceived the public for decades. Now we are staring down a crisis at our shores, and taxpayers are once again footing the bill for damage to our roads, our beaches, our environment, and our economy. We are seeking accountability from some of the world’s most powerful businesses to pay for the mess they’ve made.”

The lawsuit, filed September 10 in Delaware Superior Court, a state court, seeks monetary damages to help pay for costs the state is already incurring and that are expected to mount as climate impacts worsen.

As noted in Delaware’s complaint, the state has the lowest average elevation of any state in the country and more than 22,000 residents are currently threatened by coastal flooding. Sea level rise puts at risk over $1 billion in property value as well as the state’s $3.5 billion tourism industry with the loss of beaches. Communities of color and low-income communities in the state are especially vulnerable to extreme heat events, which are expected to substantially increase in frequency in the coming decades.

“The science is clear that these climate impacts are directly attributable to the products produced by fossil fuel companies,” Shawn Garvin, Secretary of the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, said in the press release.

These kinds of impacts could have been largely avoided or mitigated, Delaware contends, had the fossil fuel industry not actively misled the public about the risks of its product. ...

“For too long, there has been a concerted effort by some in the fossil fuel industry to mislead the public about the science behind climate change and its devastating effects,” U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-DE), who serves as Ranking Member of the U.S.Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said in the press release. “While some companies have since seen the error of their ways, and are now working in good faith to find climate solutions, others have poured millions, maybe billions of dollars into hiding the truth about climate change. The people of Delaware see the effects of climate change in Delaware every day. Families and businesses in our state are already experiencing the environmental and economic consequences of the worsening climate crisis. It is unfortunate that litigation is necessary to drag those remaining bad actors into the light, but my hope is that this litigation will hold those actors accountable.”

Delaware is bringing its lawsuit under legal claims of public nuisance, trespass, negligent failure to warn, and violations of the state’s Consumer Fraud Act. Defendants include 29 major oil and gas companies, one coal company, and the American Petroleum Institute (API), the largest trade association for the U.S. oil and gas industry. It is the third lawsuit filed in the last few months targeting API, which had been left out of an earlier wave of climate lawsuits. Minnesota, which announced its climate lawsuit on June 24, and Hoboken, New Jersey, which filed its suit last week, also include the Big Oil trade group as a defendant.

As detailed in Delaware’s complaint, API was one of the main industry organizations behind a “sustained and widespread campaign of denial and disinformation about the existence of climate change.” This deceptive behavior, the complaint argues, is ongoing with API and some of its member companies misrepresenting the industry’s investments in clean energy and climate solutions through “greenwashing” marketing and advertising campaigns. ...

Delaware is the fourth state, and the 22nd community overall in the U.S., to turn to the courts in an effort to hold fossil fuel companies accountable for harms resulting from the climate crisis. Delaware’s climate accountability lawsuit is the third such case filed in the past week, and the second in the last two days, with the city of Charleston, South Carolina, filing its complaint on September 9.

“The climate crisis Big Oil caused is engulfing the nation, and it is costing communities billions of dollars,” Richard Wiles, executive director of the Center for Climate Integrity, an initiative that supports climate accountability lawsuits, said in a press statement. “With more than 20 climate lawsuits filed against them, and three in just the last eight days, it is clear that Big Oil is facing its ‘Big Tobacco moment,’ and accountability is coming for them.”



The wildfires of California, Oregon and Washington are creating extremely smoky conditions in southwest BC, including Vancouver as the following picture shows causing health problems for those with respiratory conditions and more likely to suffer serious and even deadly consequences from Covid-19. The unprecedented west coast US wildfires, which have been accelerated by the extreme heat and dryness of the region, are repeating a pattern created by ever increasing global warming. Remember this is the beginning of the wildfire season in California. Much worse is expected. 

The record temperatures in southwest BC are also likely to spark their own wildfires. 

Washington state Governor Jay Inslee says it is time to stop calling these fires wildfires and start calling them climate fires because it is the conditions created by global warming that multiplies the number, intensity and area burnt by these fires. 


Smoke fills the sky and blankets the Vancouver skyline, Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020. Metro Vancouver has issued an air quality advisory due to the smoke from wildfires burning south of the U.S. border. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Heat advisories have ended in British Columbia following several days of record breaking temperatures in some areas, but Environment Canada's advisories about wildfire smoke still stand.

The weather office is maintaining smoky skies bulletins for most of Vancouver Island and all of the inner south coast and southern B.C., east to the Kootenay region. ...

Vancouver, Victoria and Pitt Meadows all saw their hottest day in 76 years, while records also fell on Vancouver Island, Sechelt, Squamish, Pemberton, West Vancouver, the Cariboo region of Puntzi Mountain and as far north as Mackenzie.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

The fire map shows the enormity of what is unfolding


Governor Greg Newsome of California says the debate over climate change is over. 

The Creek Fire in Madera County, Calif., this week.

The Creek Fire in Madera County, Calif., this week.Credit...


"Just come to the state of California. Observe it with your own eyes," he told reporters from a charred mountainside.

Fires have been raging in California, Oregon and Washington for three weeks.

Fanned by winds amid record heat, the blazes have burnt millions of acres, destroyed thousands of homes, and killed at least 25 people.

On Friday Oregon Governor Kate Brown said dozens were missing in her state alone. 

The fires have burnt a total 4.5m acres - an area larger than Connecticut and slightly smaller than Wales - in recent weeks, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. ...

"The debate is over, around climate change," Mr Newsom told reporters. "This is a climate damn emergency. This is real and it's happening." ...

Highlighting the states effort to combat climate change, he said the record heat waves and unprecedented fires were the sort of problems long forecast by scientists....

While natural factors such as strong winds have helped the spread of these massive fires, the underlying heating of the climate from human activities is making these conflagrations bigger and more explosive. 

Nine of the world's 10 warmest years on record have occurred since 2005, and the UN warned this week that the five years from 2016 until this year will very likely be the hottest such period yet recorded. Both Oregon and California have warmed by more than 1C since 1900.

The sustained warmth has seen six of the 20 largest fires on record in California all occur this year. In Oregon, the spate of fires has burned nearly twice the average annual losses in just the past week.

In California, a prolonged drought over the past decade has killed millions of trees, turning them into potent fuel for the fires. Mountain regions that are normally cooler and wetter have dried out more rapidly in the summer, adding to the potential fuel load.

Climate scientists had forecast that western wildfires would grow in size, scale and impact - but their predictions are coming to fruition faster than expected.


Below is a look at recent global warming events in Africa and Asia, which gets less news coverage. 

 - Sakshi Post

Cyclone Nisarga hit Mumbai India

Tropical cyclones spinning out from the Indian Ocean are showing similar patterns. The region has long been considered a hot spot for cyclones, with some of the deadliest storms in recent history churning through the Bay of Bengal before slamming into India or Bangladesh.

Exceptionally high surface temperatures in the Indian Ocean, associated with climate change, helped Cyclone Amphan grow into a Category 5 storm in a record 18 hours before it tore into the Indian state of West Bengal in May, scientists say.

The following month, Cyclone Nisarga, initially forecast to be the first to batter Mumbai since 1948, made landfall 100 km south of the city, with winds gusting up to 120 kilometres per hour.

"Both of the cyclones were unprecedented," said Roxy Mathew Koll, a climate scientist at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology. "If we go back to what led to these kinds of extreme events, what we see is that very warm ocean temperatures have played a major role."

Those warm ocean temperatures are also likely contributing to extreme rainfall and flooding in China, which this summer suffered its most punishing flood season in three decades....

"The extreme rainfall events are going to become more extreme. That is something we feel pretty confident about," said Shang-Ping Xie, a climate scientist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in California. ...

Climate Change: River Nile turns wild in East Africa floodings

Africa is feeling this now, following torrential rains and severe flooding. Tens of thousands have been left homeless by flooding from the Nile in Sudan. And in Senegal, more rain fell on a single day on Saturday than the country would usually see during three months of the rainy season, the government said.

"There's a large and growing body of evidence that is telling us that human-caused climate change is affecting extreme events," said James Kossin, a climate scientist at the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. "It's very rare that this is happening in a helpful way."


A secret recording of oil excutives' views on climate change shows what they say in public and behind the scenes about their industry and climate change are quite different. Trump has proposed further reductions in regualtion of the industry but its executives are worried about a backlash by everyone but older conservative male voters. 

“We’re just flaring a tremendous amount of gas,” one executive said at the meeting.

“We’re just flaring a tremendous amount of gas,” one executive said at the meeting.

Last summer, oil and gas-industry groups were lobbying to overturn federal rules on leaks of natural gas, a major contributor to climate change. Their message: The companies had emissions under control.

In private, the lobbyists were saying something very different. At a discussion convened last year by the Independent Petroleum Association of America, a group that represents energy companies, participants worried that producers were intentionally flaring, or burning off, far too much natural gas, threatening the industry’s image, according to a recording of the meeting reviewed by The New York Times.

“We’re just flaring a tremendous amount of gas,” said Ron Ness, president of the North Dakota Petroleum Council, at the June 2019 gathering, held in Colorado Springs. “This pesky natural gas,” he said. “The value of it is very minimal,” particularly to companies drilling mainly for oil. 

A well can produce both oil and natural gas, but oil commands far higher prices. Flaring it is an inexpensive way of getting rid of the gas. Yet the practice of burning it off, producing dramatic flares and attracting criticism, represented a “huge, huge threat” to the industry’s efforts to portray natural gas as a cleaner and more climate-friendly energy source, he said, and that was damaging the industry’s image, particularly among younger generations. ...

The remarks reflect the concerns of an industry that has presented itself as part of the solution to climate change, and natural gas as an important “bridge fuel” that can help the world shift away from coal, the dirtiest-burning energy source, toward renewable energy. Natural gas, when burned (whether in a flare, or to fuel a household oven), typically emits just half the planet-warming greenhouse gases that coal does. But by flaring off natural gas, rather than capturing it for use, companies are creating pollution without creating usable energy. ...

Methane can also escape faulty flares, and companies sometimes also deliberately release the gas from wells and pipelines in a practice known as venting. Methane can trap more than 80 times more heat in the earth’s atmosphere than carbon dioxide, over the shorter term. Research has shown that methane emissions from oil and gas production are far larger than previously estimated. ...

“The oil and natural gas industry has a pure economic incentive to prevent every molecule of ‘pollutant’ from escaping to the atmosphere,” wrote James D. Elliott, a lawyer representing a coalition of oil and gas groups led by the Independent Petroleum Association, including the North Dakota Petroleum Council, in a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency on Nov. 25, 2019. But speaking a few months earlier, at the June 2019 meeting, Mr. Ness appeared to contradict that argument. There is such a glut of natural gas, he said, that some producers that drill primarily for oil have little use for the gas that comes up with it. Yet “you’ve got to manage your gas to produce your oil.” ...

The Trump administration has proposed to eliminate federal methane rules in a move that would also reopen the question of whether the E.P.A. has the legal authority to regulate methane as a pollutant. The weakening of the methane standard is the latest in a long list of environmental-policy rollbacks under President Trump, who has vowed to loosen regulations on industry.

At the Colorado meeting, executives also worried about a potential backlash against the industry, particularly among younger voters. Recent surveys have shown a sharp rise in the number of Americans who feel passionately about climate change, and the issue appears likely to play a more prominent role in this year’s presidential election than in previous ones. 

“Young voters, female voters, Hispanic voters, really every sector except for older conservative male voters,” Ryan Flynn of the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association said in the recording of the meeting, “their No. 1 issue when it comes to our industry is always going to be environmental stewardship, and concerns about what we’re doing with the environment.”




Smoke from US wildfires propelled by global warming have prompted air quality warnings in BC and Alberta, causing Vancouver to be ranked #2 in the world for the city with the worst air quality. Portland Oregon is ranked #1 because of the US wildfires. CBC News reported this morning that Vancouver's air quality is 18 times the safe limit and even healthy people with no respiratory problems are advised to not spend extended periods outside or engage in heavy exertion. This is just the beginning of California's wildfire season. It is expected to get much worse over the next two months, so it looks like BC and Alberta will continue to suffer from smoke over an extended period. 

  • smoke

    Smoke from wildfires burning in the U.S. fills the air as Grouse Mountain trams transport people up and down the mountain, in North Vancouver, B.C,, on Saturday, September 12, 2020. The World Air Quality Index, a non-profit that tracks air quality from monitoring stations around the world, rated Vancouver's air quality as the second worst in the world Saturday. Environment Canada has issued a special air quality statement for Metro Vancouver, showing a very high risk to health due to wildfire smoke from Washington and Oregon. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck 

  • With wildfires continuing to spread across the U.S. west coast, some parts of Canada are under air quality warnings as smoke travels north of the border.

Environment Canada issued an air quality advisory for much of southern British ColumbiaFriday as multiple cities reached air quality levels high enough to pose health risks. The warning was extended to include Metro Vancouver Saturday due to wildfire smoke from Washington and Oregon. ...

The conditions got so bad that Vancouver was ranked second on a list of cities with the worst air quality in the world, with Portland in first, according to the World Air Quality index. ...

 Southern Alberta is expected to notice a difference in air quality by Sunday afternoon. ...

Canadians in areas that experience heavy smoke condition are urged to limit outdoors activity, drink water and keep windows and doors of homes and vehicles closed.


Climate Action 100+, one of the world's biggest investor groups, which manages $47 trillion in assets, has sent a letter to 161 of the globe's top polluting firms that produce 80% of greenhouse gas emissions notifying them that if they don't produce strategies to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 they will face challenges at their annual general meetings. 

In a letter to the boards of 161 companies collectively accounting for around 80 per cent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions, CA100+ said greater action was needed to meet the terms of the 2015 Paris agreement to limit global warming. ...

Climate Action 100+, whose members include most of the world's biggest investors, collectively managing $47 trillion in assets, said the strategies needed to have clear targets and that companies would be assessed on their performance.

While some companies have already moved to commit to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 or sooner, many have not. It can also be hard to compare the relative merits of each company's strategy, which can make engagement harder.

To help fix the problem, CA100+ said on Monday it was launching a new benchmark to help its 500 members and others assess each company's progress on the way to net-zero against a set of 30 indicators.

In a letter to the boards of 161 companies collectively accounting for around 80 per cent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions, CA100+ said greater action was needed to meet the terms of the 2015 Paris agreement to limit global warming. ...

Specifically, the group called on the companies to create strategies that covered their full value chain — including so-called Scope 3 emissions from each company's products — and were science-based.

Companies also needed to set medium-term objectives and material targets to help demonstrate the longer-term goals were achievable and make it easier for investors to track the necessary changes to their core business strategy.

CA100+ said the companies' response would guide the way investors engage with the boards, "particularly for unresponsive or poorly performing companies," which could also include action during future annual general meetings.

"Companies across all sectors need to take more ambitious action to ensure otherwise devastating impacts of climate change are avoided while they still can be," said Stephanie Pfeifer, CEO, Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change, part of the CA100+ coalition.

"The benchmark will ensure it's clear which companies are acting on climate change as a business-critical issue and embracing a net-zero future. Investors will be paying particular attention to those shown to be falling short."


Unfortunately, we don't have until 2050 for businesses to greatly reduce their greenhouse gas emissions as the US west coast climate fires now, the record number of Atlantic hurricanes this year, the record 40 degree Celsius tempertures and Siberian climate fires this summer and Australian climate fires last year testify. Yesterday another bleak warning came in the form of melting Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets. 

New data from space is providing the most precise picture yet of Antarctica’s ice, where it is accumulating most quickly and disappearing at the fastest rate, and how the changes could contribute to rising sea levels.

The information, in a paper published on Thursday in the journal Science, will help researchers better understand the largest driver of ice loss in Antarctica, the thinning of floating ice shelves that allows more ice to flow from the interior to the ocean, and how that will contribute to rising sea levels. Researchers have known for a long time that, while the continent is losing mass over all as the climate changes, the change is uneven. ...

Scientists are increasingly concerned that the loss of floating ice in West Antarctica is causing more rapid flow of grounded ice in the West Antarctic ice sheet, and that a portion of the sheet could collapse over centuries, greatly increasing sea levels.

The study looked at changes in the Greenland ice sheet as well. Unlike Antarctica, where little ice is lost through surface melting and runoff, as much as two-thirds of Greenland’s ice is lost this way.

Using their elevation data, the researchers found that Greenland is losing about 200 billion tons of mass each year on average. That’s enough to raise sea levels by about eight millimeters, or a third of an inch, over the study period. ...

The study is the first to be published using data from ICESat-2, which was designed to have an operating life of at least three years. Many more studies are expected that should add to the understanding of Earth’s frozen expanses.

“Where we’re at in ice sheet science is, there are still a lot of unknowns,” Dr. Gardner said. One advantage of ICESat-2, he said, is its ability to measure changes in some of the smallest ice sheet features. That will help scientists better understand how the changes are occurring and improve forecasts of future impacts as the climate continues to shift.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Satellite images and models from NASA and NOAA show particles from California, Oregon, and Washington making their way across the continent in the upper atmosphere. The results were apparent here by this morning, as the sun rose shrouded in haze. That’s right: It’s not overcast today in Boston, because those aren’t clouds.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture


Oil giant BP just announced that the world has likely hit peak oil and demand will decline rapidly into the future1. Meanwhile, workers across the country are struggling with the economic effects of the COVD-19 pandemic.

As fossil fuel industry workers, and friends and family of those in the energy industry, we know fossil fuels have contributed significantly to our lives and economy. We also know it’s time to forge a sustainable energy future that creates over a million new careers.

Canada’s energy workers have the skills needed to build the new, net-zero economy and kickstart Canada’s recovery from the pandemic.

That’s why we have developed a four point plan to rapidly mobilize our workforce and upgrade our economy to meet the demands of this transition and recovery.

But in order to create these jobs and make green recovery happen, we need massive federal government investment now.

This week, the federal government will decide what our economic recovery will look like. This is our chance to win bold federal investment and ensure long term job security for every energy worker in Canada.

If thousands of fossil fuel industry workers and supporters call for a $110 billion federal investment over ten years in a green and prosperous transition, we can push Ottawa to act and make sure Canada doesn’t miss out on the jobs, technology, and future we all deserve.


Humans Wiped Out Two-Thirds of the World's Wildlife in 50 Years

"Threats to global biodiversity also also threats to humans, experts warn..."


Either capitalism goes or we do.

Michael Moriarity Michael Moriarity's picture

NDPP wrote:

Either capitalism goes or we do.

I've been thinking that for a few decades now, and I'm pretty pessimistic. Got to keep trying, but the situation is very grim.


NDPP wrote:
Either capitalism goes or we do.


an economic and political system in which a country's trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state.

No need to throw out the baby with the bathwater. I am not enthused by the notion of having the state own all businesses and capitalism has produced a lot of good too.

Systems aren't the problem.  It isn't the fault of the media. It isn't the fault of the people who are not persuaded by the arguments of the left. Those are all cop-outs. Ultimately the responsibility to persuade falls on the person trying to change other people's mind on a subject.

It's very achievable. The right did it with lies. There is no reason the left can't do it with the truth.


During Covid-19 car sales have plunged drastically thereby helping to lower greenhouse gas emissions. However thanks to government measures electric car sales have been relatively good. 

The Trudeau Liberal government could learn something from another major fossil fuel producer, Norway. tax breaks, low road tolls and free parking Norway has become the world leader in electric car sales despite its own large fossil fuel industry, with nearly half of new car sales are electric thanks to large tax breaks, low road tolls and free parking for electric cars. Furthermore,  all new car sales must be electric by law in 2025.  

One sign of the future of automobiles is that Tesla, the electric car maker, hit a record high in share price at $1,333 recently, helping it become the world's highest valued carmaker in the stock market. Trudeau has a choice: continue to heavily subsidize the fossil fuel and gas-powered auto industries as they die or shift to the green growth energy and transportation industries. His record so far beyond pious words has been dismal. 

Electric car park in Oslo (Photo: Alister Doyle)


Pure electric cars made up almost half of car sales in Norway in the first half of 2020, in a world record as battery-powered vehicles suffer less than fossil-fueled rivals in the economic downturn caused by Covid-19.

Worldwide, car sales have plunged in 2020 but government measures to promote a greening of the auto industry in nations from China to France have made electric cars a relative bright spot in the market.

Shares in US electric car marker Tesla shares hit a record high on Wednesday at $1,333 and it overtook Toyota as the world’s most valuable carmaker.

In Norway, the global electric car leader thanks to huge tax breaks, low road tolls and free parking, sales of battery electric cars edged up to 48% of all new car registrations from January to the end of June, from 45% in the same period of 2019 and 42% in all of 2019. ...

Norway is by far the world’s biggest market by percentage for electric car sales, ahead of Iceland and the Netherlands and Sweden. Worldwide, electric cars make up about 3% of new cars, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). That figure includes plug-in hybrids, which are omitted from the Norwegian numbers. ...

The Norwegian Electric Vehicle Association, which represents electric car owners, said that sales were lagging a parliamentary goal that all new cars sold should be zero emissions by 2025. ...

Norway’s goal is earlier than targets set in other countries such as Britain in 2035 or France in 2040 as part of efforts to step up action to slow climate change under the Paris Agreement.

The IEA, in a report last month based on data to the end of April, estimated that the global passenger car market would contract by 15% this year compared to 2019, while sales of electric vehicles (EVs) would be roughly stable at 2019 levels. ...

China, for instance, the biggest overall market with 47% of 7.2 million electric cars on the roads, extended an exemption of new electric vehicles from a 10% purchase tax until 2022. France, from June, introduced huge subsidies under which a buyer could get up to €12,000 discount for buying a new Renault Zoe while scrapping an old petrol car, reducing the purchase cost to €20,000 from €32,000. 

Electric car sales in Europe this year were also boosted by the entry into force of new carbon emission standards for each manufacturer’s fleet, forcing a shift away from selling big, more profitable  and higher polluting petrol SUVs. In early 2020, more than 7% of cars sold in the European Union had a plug, double rates in 2019, said Julia Poliscanova, Senior Director, Vehicles and Emobility, at Brussels-based NGO Transport & Environment. ...

“People saw during the lockdowns how great it is to live in cities with clean air,” she told CHN. “That’s also driving awareness.”


When we think of global warming refugees affecting North America, we usually think of their arrival from other countries. However, a just released report looks at how climate change will create millions of internal global warming refugees in the US, with 13 million estimated climate change refugees from sea level rise alone. 

Canadians will face many of the same challenges because of wildfires, and with by far the longest coastline in the world, sea level rise, as well as many other problems. Almost nothing is being done to prepare for such a crisis by the American or Trudeau governments. We will be faced with brutal choices about who and which communities to save because Canadian policymakers have not dealt with the challenges for decades. 

The Ranch 2 Fire in Azusa, California, burned more than 4,200 acres, part of the worst wildfire season in the state's history. Image by Meridith Kohut. United States, 2020.

The Ranch 2 Fire in Azusa, California, burned more than 4,200 acres, part of the worst wildfire season in the state's history. Image by Meridith Kohut. United States, 2020.

Of all the devastating consequences of a warming planet — changing landscapes, pandemics, mass extinctions — the potential movement of hundreds of millions of climate refugees across the planetstands to be among the most important. ...

Already, droughts regularly threaten food crops across the West, while destructive floods inundate towns and fields from the Dakotas to Maryland, collapsing dams in Michigan and raising the shorelines of the Great Lakes. Rising seas and increasingly violent hurricanes are making thousands of miles of American shoreline nearly uninhabitable. As California burned, Hurricane Laura pounded the Louisiana coast with 150-mile-an-hour winds, killing at least 25 people; it was the 12th named storm to form by that point in 2020, another record. Phoenix, meanwhile, endured 53 days of 110-degree heat — 20 more days than the previous record. ...

For years, Americans have avoided confronting these changes in their own backyards. The decisions we make about where to live are distorted not just by politics that play down climate risks, but also by expensive subsidies and incentives aimed at defying nature. In much of the developing world, vulnerable people will attempt to flee the emerging perils of global warming, seeking cooler temperatures, more fresh water and safety. But here in the United States, people have largely gravitated toward environmental danger, building along coastlines from New Jersey to Florida and settling across the cloudless deserts of the Southwest. ...

I mapped out the danger zones that will close in on Americans over the next 30 years. The maps for the first time combined exclusive climate data from the Rhodium Group, an independent data-analytics firm; wildfire projections modeled by United States Forest Service researchers and others; and data about America’s shifting climate niches, an evolution of work first published by The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences last spring. (See a detailed analysis of the maps.) ...

What I found was a nation on the cusp of a great transformation. Across the United States, some 162 million people — nearly one in two — will most likely experience a decline in the quality of their environment, namely more heat and less water. For 93 million of them, the changes could be particularly severe, and by 2070, our analysis suggests, if carbon emissions rise at extreme levels, at least four million Americans could find themselves living at the fringe, in places decidedly outside the ideal niche for human life. The cost of resisting the new climate reality is mounting. Florida officials have already acknowledged that defending some roadways against the sea will be unaffordable. And the nation’s federal flood-insurance program is for the first time requiring that some of its payouts be used to retreat from climate threats across the country. It will soon prove too expensive to maintain the status quo.

One influential 2018 study, published in The Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, suggests that one in 12 Americans in the Southern half of the country will move toward California, the Mountain West or the Northwest over the next 45 years because of climate influences alone. Such a shift in population is likely to increase poverty and widen the gulf between the rich and the poor. It will accelerate rapid, perhaps chaotic, urbanization of cities ill-equipped for the burden, testing their capacity to provide basic services and amplifying existing inequities. It will eat away at prosperity, dealing repeated economic blows to coastal, rural and Southern regions, which could in turn push entire communities to the brink of collapse. This process has already begun in rural Louisiana and coastal Georgia, where low-income and Black and Indigenous communities face environmental change on top of poor health and extreme poverty. Mobility itself, global-migration experts point out, is often a reflection of relative wealth, and as some move, many others will be left behind. ...

There are signs that the message is breaking through. Half of Americans now rank climate as a top political priority, up from roughly one-third in 2016, and three out of four now describe climate change as either “a crisis” or “a major problem.” ...

Policymakers, having left America unprepared for what’s next, now face brutal choices about which communities to save — often at exorbitant costs — and which to sacrifice. Their decisions will almost inevitably make the nation more divided, with those worst off relegated to a nightmare future in which they are left to fend for themselves. Nor will these disruptions wait for the worst environmental changes to occur. The wave begins when individual perception of risk starts to shift, when the environmental threat reaches past the least fortunate and rattles the physical and financial security of broader, wealthier parts of the population. It begins when even places like California’s suburbs are no longer safe.

It has already begun.

In all, Hauer projects that 13 million Americans will be forced to move away from submerged coastlines. Add to that the people contending with wildfires and other risks, and the number of Americans who might move — though difficult to predict precisely — could easily be tens of millions larger. Even 13 million climate migrants, though, would rank as the largest migration in North American history.


PBS Frontline and NPR showed that the oil industry lied since the 1970s about how recycling of plastics could save them from damaging the environment in order to not reduce oil production for these products with calamatous consequences for landfills, oceans and greenhouse gas emissions. 

Landfill workers bury all plastic except soda bottles and milk jugs at Rogue Disposal & Recycling in southern Oregon.


NPR and PBS Frontline spent months digging into internal industry documents and interviewing top former officials. We found that the industry sold the public on an idea it knew wouldn't work — that the majority of plastic could be, and would be, recycled — all while making billions of dollars selling the world new plastic.

The industry's awareness that recycling wouldn't keep plastic out of landfills and the environment dates to the program's earliest days, we found. "There is serious doubt that [recycling plastic] can ever be made viable on an economic basis," one industry insider wrote in a 1974 speech.

Yet the industry spent millions telling people to recycle, because, as one former top industry insider told NPR, selling recycling sold plastic, even if it wasn't true.

"If the public thinks that recycling is working, then they are not going to be as concerned about the environment," Larry Thomas, former president of the Society of the Plastics Industry, known today as the Plastics Industry Association and one of the industry's most powerful trade groups in Washington, D.C., told NPR. ...

Here's the basic problem: All used plastic can be turned into new things, but picking it up, sorting it out and melting it down is expensive. Plastic also degrades each time it is reused, meaning it can't be reused more than once or twice.

On the other hand, new plastic is cheap. It's made from oil and gas, and it's almost always less expensive and of better quality to just start fresh.

All of these problems have existed for decades, no matter what new recycling technology or expensive machinery has been developed. In all that time, less than 10 percent of plastic has ever been recycled. But the public has known little about these difficulties. ...

Starting in the 1990s, the public saw an increasing number of commercials and messaging about recycling plastic. "The bottle may look empty, yet it's anything but trash," says one ad from 1990showing a plastic bottle bouncing out of a garbage truck. "It's full of potential. ... We've pioneered the country's largest, most comprehensive plastic recycling program to help plastic fill valuable uses and roles."

These commercials carried a distinct message: Plastic is special, and the consumer should recycle it. It may have sounded like an environmentalist's message, but the ads were paid for by the plastics industry, made up of companies like Exxon, Chevron, Dow, DuPont and their lobbying and trade organizations in Washington.

Industry companies spent tens of millions of dollars on these ads and ran them for years, promoting the benefits of a product that, for the most part, was buried, was burned or, in some cases, wound up in the ocean. Documents show industry officials knew this reality about recycling plastic as far back as the 1970s. Many of the industry's old documents are housed in libraries, such as the one on the grounds of the first DuPont family home in Delaware. Others are with universities, where former industry leaders sent their records. ...

Recycling plastic, it told the executives, was unlikely to happen on a broad scale. "There is no recovery from obsolete products," it says. It says pointedly: Plastic degrades with each turnover. "A degradation of resin properties and performance occurs during the initial fabrication, through aging, and in any reclamation process," the report told executives. Recycling plastic is "costly," it says, and sorting it, the report concludes, is "infeasible." ...

Larry Thomas, the former president of the Society of the Plastics Industry, wrote"The image of plastics is deteriorating at an alarming rate. We are approaching a point of no return." He told the executives they needed to act. The "viability of the industry and the profitability of your company" are at stake. ... "The feeling was the plastics industry was under fire — we got to do what it takes to take the heat off, because we want to continue to make plastic products," he says. ...

So began the plastics industry's $50 million-a-year ad campaign promoting the benefits of plastic. "Presenting the possibilities of plastic!" one iconic ad blared, showing kids in bike helmets and plastic bags floating in the air. "This advertising was motivated first and foremost by legislation and other initiatives that were being introduced in state legislatures and sometimes in Congress," Freeman says, "to ban or curb the use of plastics because of its performance in the waste stream."

At the same time, the industry launched a number of feel-good projects, telling the public to recycle plastic. It funded sorting machines, recycling centers, nonprofits, even expensive benches outside grocery stores made out of plastic bags. Few of these projects actually turned much plastic into new things. ...

NPR tracked down almost a dozen projects the industry publicized starting in 1989. All of them shuttered or failed by the mid-1990s. Mobil's Massachusetts recycling facility lasted three years, for example. ...

None of them was able to get past the economics: Making new plastic out of oil is cheaper and easier than making it out of plastic trash. ...

And Thomas, who led the trade group, says all of these efforts started to have an effect: The message that plastic could be recycled was sinking in. "I can only say that after a while, the atmosphere seemed to change," he says. "I don't know whether it was because people thought recycling had solved the problem or whether they were so in love with plastic products that they were willing to overlook the environmental concerns that were mounting up." ...

Without question, plastic has been critical to the country's success. It's cheap and durable, and it's a chemical marvel. It's also hugely profitable. The oil industry makes more than $400 billion a yearmaking plastic, and as demand for oil for cars and trucks declines, the industry is telling shareholders that future profits will increasingly come from plastic. ...

Fix recycling is the industry's message too, says Steve Russell, the industry's recent spokesman.

"Fixing recycling is an imperative, and we've got to get it right," he says. "I understand there is doubt and cynicism. That's going to exist. But check back in. We're there."

Larry Thomas, Lew Freeman and Ron Liesemer, former industry executives, helped oil companies out of the first plastic crisis by getting people to believe something the industry knew then wasn't true: That most plastic could be and would be recycled.

Russell says this time will be different. "It didn't get recycled because the system wasn't up to par," he says. "We hadn't invested in the ability to sort it and there hadn't been market signals that companies were willing to buy it, and both of those things exist today."

But plastic today is harder to sort than ever: There are more kinds of plastic, it's cheaper to make plastic out of oil than plastic trash and there is exponentially more of it than 30 years ago. And during those 30 years, oil and plastic companies made billions of dollars in profit as the public consumed ever more quantities of plastic. Russell doesn't dispute that.


After suggesting the Trudeau Liberals would include a $100 billion green spending plan in their throne speech, there is growing evidence that they will not be doing this, as the Liberals continue their 30 year history of announce and fail to act on climate change. This seems to be their ongoing plan even in the face of the west coast wildfires catastrophe where several communities in California have burned to the ground and six more are totally destroyed in Oregon while Vancouver BC ends up with the second worst air quality of any city in the world as a result of the wildfires. This forewarning of much worse to come for us in the future seems to have changed nothing in the Trudeau approach. 

As of Sunday, around 4 million acres have been scorched by wildfires in California, Washington and Oregon. These fires are a reminder that for all our struggles with COVID-19, climate change remains the number one threat against human civilization.

Yet even now, we can't even acknowledge this reality. 

The Liberal government was expected to unveil an ambitious $100-billion green spending plan, plus major changes in environmental regulation in the upcoming throne speech, according to a Global News report. But now the government seems to have shelved that plan, over fears of being perceived as taking advantage of the pandemic to execute its climate agenda, according to information obtained by Global News. ...

Global News sources say the government will still focus on a structural recovery that will include a “green” and “clean” recovery plan and industrial strategy. But that is not enough.  Now is the time to act, and to act boldly to come out of the Covid-19 economic crisis with a smart green stimulus package. ...

Last fall, wildfires were terrifying in Australia. Today, the tragedy of massive wildfires revisited the west coast of America, carrying toxicity into Canada. The Los Angeles Times summed it up with a banner headline splashed across the top of the Sunday paper: 'California's climate apocalypse." "The calamity is no longer in the future," the subtitle read. "It's here, now." ...

In Vancouver, we were having our own apocalyptic scene. Smoke blowing in from the U.S. turned the Greenest City white, making it the second most polluted in the world, following Portland. The mountains disappeared, and so did visibility. Public health warnings sounded through the city and communities up the coast. Stay inside. No strenuous outdoor activities. Wear a mask outside. ...

It must be strange to be young in this world. I live in a household with three teenagers. Yet I still can't wrap my mind around what it's like to be them, coming of age during a pandemic, explosive wildfires, racially-based murders, rising extremism, polarization, and above all else, to be aware of mass species extinctions and the mounting dangers of climate change.

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Global Youth Climate Strikes Return “For as Long as It Takes”

Youth climate activists are once again taking to the streets around the world to join the Fridays for Future strike for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began. Student-led actions are taking place in South Korea, the Philippines, Germany, Sweden and in over 3,000 places around the globe. Swedish youth climate activist Greta Thunberg tweeted, “We will be back next week, next month and next year. For as long as it takes.”

In the Arctic Circle, 18-year-old climate activist Mya-Rose Craig held a protest this week standing on an iceberg and surrounded by open ocean, as Arctic sea ice shrank to its second-lowest minimum extent on record.

Mya-Rose Craig: “I am up here with Greenpeace in the Arctic. And I’m here to bear witness to the sea ice minimum, but I’m also here doing the most northerly Youth Strike for Climate to try and make a statement about how temporary this amazing landscape is and how our leaders have to make a decision now in order to save it.”


The head of a Chinese government advisory panel announced that authorities plan to have new-energy vehicles to account for 15% to 25% of new car sales in 2025 (from 5% in 2019), and at least half by 2035 with the goal of not only reducing greenhouse gas emissions but also reducing China's dependence on foreign oil. The Chinese government plans to overtake Europe as the world's largest producer of electric and hybrid cars by the end of this year as it already is only slightly behind Europe right now and growing faster.

Meanwhile, the Trudeau, Alberta and Saskatchewan governments continue with their plans to subsidize an oil industry that will increasingly find shrinking market and prices for its high-priced oil as European and Chinese cars, two of the worlds three largest markets shift away from oil.

A buyer sits on the back seat in his new Tesla Model 3 after the Tesla China-made Model 3 delivery ceremony in Shanghai. Photo: AFP

China is on its way to become the biggest market for electric vehicles (EVs) by the end of the year, according to a market assessment published by the German Center for Automotive Research (CAR).

Sales of electrified cars in the first half of the year were slightly higher in Europe but the “(Elon) Musk factor” would support the development of the Chinese market, which would not give up its leading position in the electric car market for the next 50 years, according to the CAR forecasts.

In total, almost 400,000 fully electric cars and plug-in hybrids were sold in Europe in the first half of the year. In China, only 7,200 fewer electrified vehicles were sold in the same period, according to CAR.

China made a “great leap” in all-electric vehicles with Tesla as the Tesla Shanghai gigafactory contributed sales of almost 50,000 fully electric cars in China in the first half of this year.

Thanks to high purchase premiums for electric cars in many European countries, sales of fully and partially electric vehicles in Europe “picked up significantly,” the CAR noted.

China and Europe were “decisive for the global breakthrough of electric mobility,” said Ferdinant Dudenhoefer, the director of CAR, noting that the two regions were “significantly supporting emission-neutral mobility.”


The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology's draft proposal said China should seek to ensure one in four of all vehicles sold in 2025 were either hybrids or fully-electric vehicles.

The measures are partly to ensure the country meets its air pollution targets, and to reduce Beijing's dependence on imported oil.

China would also continue to develop electric vehicle battery technologies, improve infrastructure for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and driverless cars, it said.


Although it is clear that the world must move off fossil fuels, this does not mean that there are no risks to the environment in carrying out this process, as the following example of extensive pollution in Russia by Nornickel's (one of the world's largest Arctic polluters) mining of nickel for electric car motors for Tesla and other companies illustrates. 

Every year in August and September, the people of Ust’-Avam, a remote indigenous community located in the Taimyr region of the Russian Arctic, toss nets into the Avam River to catch tugunok fish, an important traditional food. This year, the community stopped fishing early, around the start of the month. There were no tugunok to be found. Nor could locals find the fish at other common sites along the river basin fed by Lake Pyasino, which lies just a few miles north of the industrial city of Norilsk.

Gennady Shchukin, a member of the Dolgan ethnic group, has little doubt about the culprit: In late May, a reserve fuel tank at a power plant near Norilsk burst open, flooding local waterways with an estimated 23,000 tons of diesel oil. The spilled oil drifted for miles, turning part of the Ambarnaya River that feeds Lake Pyasino bright red. Norilsk Nickel, the Russian nickel mining company responsible for the spill, says it acted swiftly to contain the pollution. But Shchukin worries the contamination is far more widespread than the company claims, and that his people will be living with the consequences for years. ...

Last month, Aborigen Forum, a group of Russian indigenous activists and leaders that Shchukin heads up, launched a campaign to raise awareness of Norilsk Nickel’s impacts on their communities and to demand restitution. Rather than focus on an obscure Arctic mining company, Aborigen Forum is appealing to someone more likely to grab international headlines: Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla.

Nickel is a key ingredient in the cathodes of electric car batteries, allowing them to store more energy more cheaply. Tesla, and other EV makers, need lots of it. ...

“We don’t want the next industrial revolution of electric cars and clean energy developed for the price of indigenous peoples’ rights and traditional lands,” said Dmitry Berezhkov, a member of the Aborigen Forum network and the coordinator of a social media campaign to get Musk’s attention. ...

Aborigen Forum’s appeal to Musk was inspired by an appeal from the Tesla CEO himself. In a second-quarter earnings call in July, Musk was asked what are the biggest constraints to Tesla’s battery production capabilities. His response: nickel.

“Any mining companies out there: Please mine more nickel,” Musk said on the call. “Tesla will give you a giant contract, for a long period of time, if you mine nickel efficiently and in an environmentally sensitive way.”

Norilsk Nickel, also known as Nornickel, is one of the largest nickel producers on Earth. It claims to be the largest producer of so-called class 1 or high-purity nickel, the type coveted by battery manufacturers. Demand for high-purity nickel is predicted to surge as the electric car market grows. ...

Even before this year’s oil spill, Nornickel was one of the biggest polluters in the entire Arctic. Its nickel production sites on the Taimyr Peninsula and its refineries on the Kola Peninsula are both enormous sources of regional air pollution; the Taimyr operations alone are responsible for roughly double the annual sulfur dioxide emissions of the entire United States, according to a figure Greenpeace Russia attributes to The Russian Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring. Discharges of contaminated wastewater from Nornickel’s industrial facilities have resulted in severe heavy metal pollution in nearby water bodies and soils. Locals, Shchukin says, call the area around the city of Norilsk — a vast wasteland of dead trees and mud — “poison territory.”



Quannah Chasinghorse is fighting to save the Alaskan Arctic refuge from the fossil fuel industry.

Caribou graze on the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, with the Brooks Range as a backdrop. Photo/Flickr/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters (CC BY 2.0)

Quannah, an 18-year-old Han Gwich’in and Oglala Lakota youth, is curled up on the couch, wearing a shirt emblazoned with the slogan “Protect the Arctic, Defend the Sacred.”

It is a rare moment of rest for Quannah. In the past year she has traveled coast to coast, advocating to protect her homelands from the desecration of oil drilling, with her mother, Jody Potts, who is Han Gwich'in and a tribal member of the Native Village of Eagle. Her mother also serves as the regional director for Native Movement and is a board member with the Alaska Wilderness League. This mother-daughter duo represents the decades-long fight to protect their state’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

The refuge is hailed for its immense ecosystem of nearly 20 million protected acres, with sweeping tundra, glacial-fed rivers, and mountain ranges providing a sanctuary for wildlife, especially the 200,000-strong porcupine caribou herd, as of 2018. Before the region was deemed a wilderness refuge by the federal government, in 1960, it was known by the Gwich’in as “Iizhik Gwats’an Gwandaii Goodlit,” meaning “the sacred place where life begins.” ...

The Arctic, dubbed ground zero for climate change, is warming at a rate twice as fast as the rest of the world. The region is at even greater risk since the unprecedented decision by the Trump administration and congressional Republicans to open the refuge’s coastal plain to oil and gas development. In August, the Interior Department formally announced its leasing program to open some 1.57 million acres of the refuge to drilling, NPR reported.

But Gwich’in women are leading an intergenerational movement to defend the refuge from oil rigs and wells, all while championing Indigenous rights and justice for missing and murdered Indigenous women. When Demientieff travels to Washington, DC, to advocate for her people and land, Gwich’in youth join her as part of the official Youth Council. “Each of them are hunters and fishers," she explains, "and they all know how to survive off the land. They all have something to share.” 

Since she was 17, Quannah has joined Demientieff to speak with senators on Capitol Hill as a member of the Youth Council. She credits the teachings of elders and women in her life for her sense of purpose: “My mom has always taught me to remember who you are and where you come from.” ...

“The reason I am the way I am is because my mom, grandma, and aunties have always taught me not to take sh*t from [any]one. To do the best for our people, sticking up for our rights and our lands. I've learned a lot from the women in my life,” says Quannah. Her mom explains that Quannah was raised in the movement, where over the years, during sweat ceremonies, she heard her mother and the powerful women in her “auntie squad” talk about activism and the fight for the land.

For four generations, the Gwich’in have fought to honor their ancestral vow to care for the porcupine caribou herd and nurture the land for future generations. “Our ancestors made a promise to protect this land, so we have to keep that promise and our way of life,” says Kaila Druck, a 16-year-old member of the Youth Council. Many youth, like Quannah and Kaila, leave their villages to attend school in Fairbanks, but families continue to return to their fish camps and villages several times a year. ...

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, living off the land has become more critical than ever for the Gwich’in. Kaila and Bernadette tell me that the pandemic has caused a shortage of flights that usually import food into remote villages. At the same time, climate change is impacting hunting, fishing, and berry seasons, they say. Circumstances are dire. “I feel like right now we are deprived of our traditions and what we love the most with the pandemic,” Kaila says. “We haven’t been able to hunt this year in Fort Yukon; people were barely able to fish. Some people went out for weeks and returned only with five fish. That's all we live off of. My whole family depends on living off of food from the land; moose, fish, and berries sustain us all winter. This year we won’t have much." She continues, "Growing up, I was always told we should not destroy the land. The elders always said we will fully depend on the land one day. Now, with the pandemic, I can see what the elders mean.”


The increasing costs of global warming are becoming more and more apparent to everyone, even American climate change deniers, every day, but the burden is mostly born by the poor, who have grown rapidly during the Covid-19 crisis. 

A home burns as the sun sets behind smoke and flames during the Bobcat fire in Juniper Hills, California, on Friday.

 A home burns as the sun sets behind smoke and flames during the Bobcat fire in Juniper Hills, California, on Friday. Photograph: Mario Tama/Getty Images

People across the US west, including hundreds of miles away from the blazes, reported buying air purifiers for the first time to cope with the smoke that cast a hazy glow over multiple states. The most effective air purifiers can run $200 to $500, and many sold out. Others said they had run up their air conditioning bills or paid for gas and hotels to leave the area. ...

When most people think of adaptation to the climate crisis, they think of governments building up infrastructure to protect property against rising seas or the agriculture industry finding new ways of growing crops with different rain patterns. ...

But individuals are already adapting – whether they are buying air purifiers, installing air conditioning to fight the heat or spending big to evacuate ahead of intensifying hurricanes.

Americans around the country – if they have the resources – are dedicating more of their income to living with extreme weather fueled by climate change. The most vulnerable are being left behind, in the absence of government aid.

In the western US, the climate crisis has doubled the area burned by wildfire from 1984 to 2015, according to research cited in the federal government’s climate assessment. “The area burned from 1916 to 2003 was more closely related to climate factors” than forest management, the report said.

Cities across California have opened “cleaner-air centers”, where people who can’t afford purifiers or don’t have homes can escape the smoke for a few hours. But they have been less frequented than in previous years because of concerns about Covid-19. Public spaces such as libraries have been closed, eliminating another respite.

Health officials advised residents with the means to filter the air in at least one room to create a place to get relief. Some also advertised a cheaper solution – attaching a furnace filter to a box fan. But filters quickly flew off the shelves. ...

In the short term, wildfire smoke can worsen chronic lung and heart conditions. It can trigger asthma attacks, heart attacks and strokes. It can also weaken the body’s ability to fight off illnesses like the coronavirus.

The longer-term health effects of continuous smoke exposure are unknown but expected to be significant. Researchers have linked even short-term exposures to air pollution – from factories, power plants and car exhaust – to an increase in premature deaths among the elderly. ...

At Stanford University, south of San Francisco, low-income graduate students said they were struggling to respond to the triple threat of the pandemic, heat, and dirty air. Because of Covid-19, many student researchers are working from home. Some don’t have air conditioning or ventilation because California has historically been temperate. But they also can’t open the windows because the air is choked with smoke. ...

Kristie Ebi, a climate researcher and professor at the University of Washington’s Center for Health and the Global Environment, said adapting to current climate change and trying to stem the crisiswere equally important. “The CO2 we have in the atmosphere right now will drive climate change for several more decades, so we have to mitigate, to reduce, the kinds of impacts we’re going to see in several decades,” Ebi said. “But in the short term, people are dying and suffering now.”

Adaptation is necessary, but it’s also expensive and unavailable to many. One analysis showed that about 40% of Americans would struggle to come up with $400 for an unexpected expense. A single evacuation could send them spiraling into debt.

“There’s a potentially infinite number of ways you can adapt – by changing your wardrobe or your eating habits or all these kinds of things,” said Amir Jina, an environmental economist at the University of Chicago. “But any of the really effective ones that we know of, like air conditioning or air filters, they’re going to cost money. They’re going to cost quite a lot of money, in some cases.”


Several First Nations are in the Supreme Court demanding that treaty rights First Nations laws  be recognized as independent from Euro-Canadian laws in the carbon tax case.

Joëlle Pastora Sala, an attorney for the Public Interest Law Centre in Manitoba, which is representing the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, presents to the Supreme Court on Sept. 23, 2020. Photo SCC screenshot

Several First Nations asked the Supreme Court of Canada on Wednesday to look beyond intergovernmental clashes over the carbon tax, and recognize that the climate crisis infringes on treaty rights.

After two days of hearings, the court said it was reserving its judgment, meaning the justices will take some time to consider the issues further before releasing a ruling. 

The Supreme Court is considering the constitutionality of the federal government's Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act, which since 2019 has required provinces to either design their own pollution-fighting regimes that meet minimum standards, or accept a federal program that does.

Saskatchewan and Alberta, which asked appeals courts to rule on the issue along with Ontario, argued Tuesday that the federal government already has all the power it needs to regulate carbon pollution. Ottawa could either make it illegal to pollute under the criminal code, or tax it directly using its taxation powers, they said.

British Columbia, which is intervening on the side of the federal government, argued that Canada's status as a sovereign country afforded it greater latitude, given the nationwide consequences of provinces failing to deal effectively with their emissions. ...

Joëlle Pastora Sala, an attorney for the Public Interest Law Centre in Manitoba, which is representing the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, said the carbon pricing case presented an opportunity for the justices to “clarify the existence of First Nations laws as independent from Euro-Canadian laws.”

Indigenous peoples have had their own legal systems based on various traditions that have often been ignored under colonialism, according to the Law Commission of Canada. 

“Governments and courts can no longer ignore the existence and insights of First Nations laws. Ignoring this reality fundamentally impairs reconciliation and the spirit and intent of treaties,” said Pastora Sala. ...

She said the three carbon tax appeals cases from Alberta, Ontario and Saskatchewan have “entirely ignored the existence of First Nations laws and the original intent of treaties,” and that the courts were succumbing to the temptation of focusing “narrowly” on the division of powers.

“But is that not the reference question which was put to the court? Is it not our responsibility to answer the question, which was posed to us?” asked Justice Malcolm Rowe.

“Governments and courts will continue to ignore First Nations laws if this court does not pronounce themselves on (their) importance,” Pastora Sala responded. “Reconciliation, which is about an ongoing process, establishing respectful relationships, will not happen.” 

“I’m afraid that we have to maintain our role as a court, and not become some super-legislative institution. If we lose our footing as a court, we abandon our proper role in the separation of powers,” Rowe also told her. 

But Pastora Sala said that, in the spirit of reconciliation, and facing such a fundamental issue, “it is no longer acceptable to exclude First Nation laws. The status quo cannot stand, and reconciliation demands more.” ...

Multiple First Nations said that carbon pollution and climate change were posing serious obstacles to their constitutionally protected rights. 

Patricia Lawrence, senior counsel with Westaway Law Group representing Anishinabek Nation, which speaks on behalf of 39 First Nations throughout Ontario, said greenhouse gas emissions and climate change “pose a very real threat to our clients’ ability to continue to exercise the Aboriginal and treaty rights” under Section 35 of the Constitution. 

If the Supreme Court were to find that the federal government’s Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act was beyond the powers of Parliament, that would “leave our clients’ constitutional rights subject to the whim and political will of individual provinces,” said Lawrence. 

University of Ottawa law professor Amir Attaran, representing the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, near the northern Alberta oilpatch, said hunting, fishing and trapping are “existential” to the nation’s culture, and climate change is now threatening that way of life. 

“Scientists predict that my clients’ northern homeland by the end of the century will warm as much as seven degrees,” the difference between Vancouver and Mexico City, he said. 

The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) believes the carbon pricing regime is within Parliament’s jurisdiction, said Stuart Wuttke, AFN general counsel. He also said justices need to examine Indigenous rights in the Constitution as part of the case.

He also pointed out that the provinces “do not owe any obligations to First Nations in another province,” so if a province fails to act on curbing emissions, “the impacts are real for First Nations communities, and governments in other locations across Canada.”